Newcastle Jets' coach Ernie Merrick has lauded the ability of Argentine signing Pato Rodriguez, while claiming the midfielder has a lot more to offer.
Rodriguez scored a stunning goal on debut for Newcastle, before registering an assist in a draw with Melbourne City in January, but Merrick believes he and fellow signing Riley McGree are still learning the ropes.
“Pato’s been terrific - he’s never really been a goalscorer, he’s always been a person that delivers crosses into the box, and now he’s getting in the box and scoring some fantastic goals," Merrick said.
“I’d like to get him to do that more often during matches.
“He’s just one of a couple of players who are fairly new. Riley McGree is getting the hang of how we play and is picking it up very quickly.
“If we can take advantage of this over the next five or six weeks going into the finals we can be a better team, and that’s what we focus on.”
Following an impressive start, Rodriguez has failed to light up the A-League over the past few matches, feeling the pressure of marquee status at a club vying for the Championship.
“That’s always the case, I think, when you come from overseas,” Merrick said.
“Now that he’s learning how we play and how we can be of service to him, he’s becoming a much more dangerous player, whereas in the past he’s always felt he’s the one who’s had to create things for himself or for other players.
“I think we’ve got a player who’s got a lot of goals in him.”