It’s hard to gauge how good Rodri has been in his first season at Manchester City.
With a reputation for being studious from his time spent working towards a degree during his time at Atletico, the 23-year-old impressed from the moment he arrived at the club with his behaviour and approach.
With the problems and shortages in central defence though, there has been no room for rest or a gentle introduction to life as the sole holding midfielder in a Pep Guardiola team.
A player adept at ticking over the ball and breaking opposition lines with his passing, the Premier League has been a learning curve for Rodri – he has improved as he has more felt his role in the team and has room for more growth.
There have been some impressive goals, albeit not deciding strikes or in high profile games until the recent Carabao Cup final, and the £62m signing generally feels like a quality addition.
At the same time, it is difficult to talk up the midfielder when the team have fallen short of their previous standards and there is no getting away from the fact that he has not done for the team the things that Fernandinho mastered in the role.
A look at the players Guardiola has used most this season in the Premier League points towards Rodri’s biggest problem as he adapts to what is required of him at the Etihad. Not that he has been one of the most important because that was expected, but the fact that there are so few defenders alongside him on the list.
Fernandinho is up there, but if you are going to be critical of the midfield not protecting the defence – a fair assessment in the season review – you have to accept too that the Brazilian is not a world-class centre-back.
Nicolas Otamendi has played three-quarters of the minutes that Rodri has, Benjamin Mendy just more than half and Aleks Zinchenko, John Stones, and Angelino less than that.
Sheffield United away in January, the return of Aymeric Laporte, was one of the few occasions this season where the defence has given off a menacing, confident authority.
When Fernandinho was excelling in midfield in the 2017/18 campaign, Stones and Otamendi were a rock-solid partnership behind him for the first half of the season before Laporte joined in January. Laporte and Vincent Kompany were immovable as Ilkay Gundogan stepped up to the role in the second half of last season.
Rodri has simply not had enough security or consistency at either centre-back or left-back to provide him with best conditions to flourish and make the position his own.
Bringing in at least one marquee addition to the backline in the next transfer window should help the solidity of the team, but it should also give City’s Spanish midfielder a stronger base to be able to show what he really can do.