Rodrigo joined the Yorkshire-based club from Valencia for a club record fee of £27m last summer, but the move has not gone according to plan for the player so far.
The Spain international has managed to score just three goals and provide one assist in the Premier League, while Raphinha, who cost under £17m, has contributed to 12 goals.
Reflecting on Rodrigo’s struggles at Elland Road, former Leeds star Whelan thinks that Raphinha’s impact has added extra pressure on to the 30-year-old.
Whelan also pointed out that Rodrigo has struggled to get an extended run in the Whites team due to various reasons and stressed the need for the forward to be handed a run in the side before judging him.
“That [giving Rodrigo an extended run in the team] is the only way you are going to get your decision because coming on off the bench is hard enough to get into a game and get into the pace of a game at the best of times“, Whelan said on BBC Radio Leeds following the win over Sheffield United.
“But you have got to have a sustained period where he is playing week in week out, 90 minutes at the very peak of his fitness level and at the very top of his confidence levels as well.
“You only get that from playing regularly and we have not had that, it has been a very indifferent season for him.
“Coming to a new club, not being fit enough to start, having to do a little mini pre-season, then getting into the side, then showing glimpses of what he can do, then getting the virus, then getting back in, then getting niggles.
“Now he is fit again but not match fit, so I think this season has been very very mixed for him and there is still going to be people sitting on the fence.
“£27m is a lot of money to pay for a player, club record and for that you want to see what Raphinha has given you.
“That is the pressure [Rodrigo is facing at Elland Road].“
With just eight games remaining in the season, Rodrigo will be looking to put his struggles behind him and enjoy a strong end to his debut season with the Whites.