By Daniel Feliciano

5th Oct, 2022 | 2:40pm

Joe Gelhardt outshines Willy Gnonto for Leeds United Under-21's to prove he's worth his first-team place

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Joe Gelhardt’s future at Leeds United recently, and he justified why on Tuesday night against Tranmere.

After being left out of the match-day squad for the goalless draw against Aston Villa, Marsch revealed that “Joffy” would play for the Under-21’s in the Papa John’s EFL trophy to try and get some minutes with youngster Willy Gnonto now ahead of him in the pecking order.

But in a surprise twist both players lined up for the youth team on Tuesday night, and it was Gelhardt who outshone his rival with two fine goals in an entertaining 5-3 win.

The 20 year old showed his quality with two fine strikes, but it was his work rate, pressing and passing from a wide position that showed why the manager may be wrong to relegate him so quickly from the first-team picture.

Currently the club have got a lot of attacking options in the attacking area of the pitch. Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo Moreno, Jack Harrison, Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra take up most of the spots, but now Gnonto is ahead of Gelhardt.

That’s despite not yet making his first-team debut for the Elland Road club, while Gelhardt already has plenty of first-team experience in the Premier League and helped them to avoid relegation last season.

It’s clear that Gnonto is a wonderful talent and that Marsch is a big fan of his, but to just fling Gelhardt to the side so quickly is rather worrying.

Playing as a central striker is sometimes tough for him as he still looks to develop physically and come to terms with coming up against huge specimens in defence, but now he has proven he has the ability to go wide too.

Adding that to his game means that there is no reason for Gnonto to be ahead of him in the pecking order right now, because there is nothing that the Italian can do that he can’t.

With Sinisterra suspended for the weekend game, Gelhardt is likely to return to the match-day squad as a substitute against Crystal Palace but ultimately it’s clear that his future is bleak right now.

If he’s not given the opportunity to prove himself he should be allowed to leave the club temporarily at least to prove what he’s capable of, because he’s already proving Marsch wrong with this decision.

In other Leeds news, Roy Keane was furious at what one Leeds ace did against Aston Villa