Doncaster Rovers manager Richie Wellens has urged Newcastle United loanee Rodrigo Vilca to deliver in the final-third to negate what he sacrifices, via the Doncaster Free Press.
Vilca has impressed Wellens with his quality on the ball, but believes he is missing the end product to match. The Peruvian joined Donny on Deadline Day to spend the first half of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium.
He is yet to score or assist after four appearances in all competitions with the League One side. Starting one of two available third-tier games and one of two in the EFL Trophy so far. But Vilca has shown enough for Wellens to draw comparisons with former Newcastle fans’ favourite Nolberto Solano. Who he briefly played with at Leicester City back in 2009/10.
Wellens believes Vilca also needs time to adapt to the senior game after joining Doncaster Rovers from Newcastle’s U23s side.
“Rodrigo’s come from an Under-23s set-up and I’m not having a go at that, but the intensity of training and intensity of matches are nowhere near what is required as of today,” Wellens said. “He’s going to take a bit of catching up, but I think you saw the talent that he’s got. I think you can see he’s quality. It’s just that final little bit.
“He receives the ball very well and he reminds me of a player that I actually played with from Peru called Nobby Solano. He’s a really cultured footballer, now it’s just about that last little bit. We have to sacrifice certain defensive stuff with him, so when you play a player like that you need that assist, that goal or final product in the final-third to negate the defensive stuff.”
Will Vilca have a Newcastle future on return from Doncaster?
Newcastle chief scout Steve Nickson recommended the club signed Vilca from Deportivo Municipal last year, according to Chronicle Live. They paid the Peruvian outfit a nominal £225k for the forward, who is yet to feature in any of Steve Bruce’s first-team squads.
Vilca displayed his potential to glid past defenders with the Magpies’ U23s side last season across 10 appearances, scoring once. He also provided one assist, which the 22-year-old matched in three PL2 outings this term before joining Doncaster on loan.
Newcastle and Vilca will hope he improves his numbers in the final-third under Wellens at Doncaster. As Bruce will need the silky but unproven maestro operating at a higher level to a have a first-team role. Especially given Wellens’ admission of what he is sacrificing in his plans to accommodate Vilca featuring at the Keepmoat Stadium.