Why record signing Georginio Rutter will be the complete package for Leeds United

WHEN those in the corridors of power at Leeds United decided to sanction a club record £36m outlay on Georginio Rutter, there was a tacit realisation that the investment was based on several criteria.

By all accounts, the young Frenchman is well served with pace, power, athleticism and skill. An 'explosive footballer' is how Jesse Marsch described the former Hoffenheim forward ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup replay with Cardiff City.

To be the full package, young footballers must also possess less quantifiable skills in order to be a success and come through in the best, but most demanding division in the world. Namely game intelligence.

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A player who has made such an impact in a short space of time at Leeds in Wilfried Gnonto has those qualities.

Georginio Rutter.Georginio Rutter.
Georginio Rutter.

Like Rutter, the Italian possesses explosive on-pitch qualities. Listen to Marsch and he is also sharp on the uptake when it comes to disseminating tactical information as well.

Another burgeoning talent in the shape of Crysencio Summerville, has also been talked up in that regard relatively recently by Marsch.

A 'star pupil' is how he referred to the Dutchman. He has not previously always been as attentive.

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Rutter is busy assimilating among his team-mates at Thorp Arch. FA rules mean he won't be involved this evening, but the smart money is on it not being long at all before he is introduced to the first-team.

Marsch said: "I've known him for a while. He is someone I watched when I was at Leipzig. He’s an explosive footballer, a talented player with a lot of potential.

"When we have done our homework, we have also learned - and we found this out relatively quickly - what a good person he is, a hard worker he is and how much he wants to try to achieve for himself.

"When you coach players that have been in Germany, there's a real high level of tactical education and I sat down with Georginio (on Monday) and talked a lot about what we try to do and our playing model and what our philosophies are and what our strategies and vocabulary (is).

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"He already was very up to speed and understands most of it. It was a really intelligent football conversation and one that gives me real hope that he can acclimatise quickly. So all of those factors were why he was the player that we fought after."

"A lot of the first meeting I had with Willie, we talked about the same things and he was very responsive in the same way.

"The difference, I guess, would be that Georginio has played 57-60 Bundesliga matches at 20 years old. That's a pretty quick ascension for a young footballer and even he said it was amazing how much he learned going to Hoffenheim and going to Germany and I think that Willy had some of the same things in Zurich so, yes, I think it gives us hope that he can be ready soon."

An ability to produce quality on either foot enhanced the glossy brochure regarding Rutter, who scored 11 goals in 64 appearances in the Bundesliga after joining from Rennes in 2021.

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His ability to play in several forward positions is another selling point. But what about the pressure of being a club's record signing?

And does it put pressure on the shoulders of Marsch - whose tenure could well hinge on the impact of Rutter per se?

Marsch, who expects the club's replacement for assistant Mark Jackson to be announced shortly, continued: "I just try to treat them for what they are and who they are and try to maximise the potential of what they can become.

"And the more that we do that, I think the more that we're able to just have an environment that's about people and about development and about each other.

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"I don't think he has any extra pressure from us. Obviously there's certain external things that he and we will have to manage for expectation but he, and by his performance and fitness level right now and his intensity and by his excitement of being here, I think it's going to be a big opportunity for him to step in quickly.

"He has flexibility. When you look at most players, they're very right or left foot dominant. Georginio is 50-50, he is maybe the most two footed player that I've ever seen. I think we can use him as a striker, a wide player and a second striker so I think there's a lot of flexibility."

Speculation has centred on the future of Joe Gelhardt following Rutter's arrival with several Championship clubs keen on taking him on loan including Swansea, Sunderland, Wigan and Blackburn.

Marsch continued: "I think there's been some internal discussions and we'll make some decisions in the coming weeks.

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"In general, his attitude has been great, we have had great conversations. I think everybody's open to different possibilities. We do have a lot of really good attacking options.”

Last six games: Leeds LLDDDL; Cardiff DDDLDD.

Referee: T Bramall (Sheffield).

Last time: Leeds 3 Cardiff 3, December 14, 2019; Championship.

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