Leeds United fans may have been left bemused to see the number 22 broadcast in red on the fourth official’s board with 25 minutes left of the 3-2 victory against West Ham.
It meant that Lewis Bate, who had been introduced in the first half in place of the injured Adam Forshaw, would make way for Rodrigo.
On the face of it, it seemed unfair on the young midfielder but Marcelo Bielsa explained the reason for the second substitution after the match.
He said: “Those that played in that sector of the pitch, Klich, Forshaw, Rodrigo, Bate, had to make a big effort so that the game didn’t go to their side.
“I didn’t think Rodrigo could do that work for an hour, and I decided to share the minutes between him and Bate.”
Regardless of the explanation, Bate was understandably less than impressed when he returned to the bench but he dusted himself down and took to Twitter after the game to express his pride at making his first appearance in the Premier League.
He wrote: “Premier League debut. A moment I’ve worked towards my whole life and one I’ll never forget. Delighted to top it off by leaving London with all 3 points. Head down now, lots for me to learn and to improve on. MOT.”
Leeds supporters flocked to the reply section to praise his impact and congratulate the 19-year-old on such a milestone
Andrea Radrizzani was one of those who passed on his a nice message to Bate, saying: “Well done Lewis.”
While the youngster might still be frustrated at being brought onto the pitch then off it again, he certainly held his own in a game against one of the Premier League’s better sides.
A number of Leeds fans also reminded him that a certain England international received similar treatment from Bielsa a few years ago.
In a 2-2 draw with Swansea at the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Kalvin Phillips was taken off after just 28 minutes. If anything, that decision, which might be perceived as harsh in some quarters, ultimately helped the Leeds favourite’s development.
In the three and a half years since, Phillips has gone from strength to strength and Whites supporters will be hoping Bate can follow a similar career path as international caps are likely to be part of his aspirations.