Leeds United under-23s started their Premier League 2 campaign with a disappointing 4-0 defeat at Stoke City on Monday evening.
The comprehensive result didn’t tell the whole story though. The Whites dominated the ball but were caught out too many times with their makeshift defence.
Mark Jackson took charge of his first under-23s game and handed debuts to Cody Drameh, Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt, and named no recognised centre-backs.
It was Gelhardt who caught the eye of many, the stocky forward getting on the ball and showing no fear when taking on his men with ease.
The former Wigan man also won a penalty in the first half but saw his effort saved when dusting himself off to take the spot-kick.
Gelhardt was the real bright spark on the night, with Greenwood also impressing in this new look under-23s attacking line up.
The best sign of the youngsters’ confidence was that he never stopped pushing his side forward, and if he took his chances, the result would have been very different.
Leeds had no central defenders on the pitch, and that was the only reason the result got away from the young Whites.
If Gelhardt and his teammates took their chances, they could so easily have come away with all three points in their first game in the new league.
Many Leeds fans reacted to the performance of Gelhardt, with some even going as far as to say the young forward is the second coming of Lionel Messi.
MOT Leeds News have picked out some of the best reactions below…
Very good player Gelhardt . Perhaps may sub against Hull city # certainly a fringed. First team squad player ??
— Dave kemp (@kempdavid1975) September 14, 2020
Gelhardt is an absolute tank
— Tommo 🏆 (@LUFC1992_v2) September 14, 2020
20 mins watching him play and can already tell Joe Gelhardt is the scouse second coming of Lionel Messi #LUFC
— Jack Timms (@jacktimms92) September 14, 2020
Missed a pen but Gelhardt really does look quality
— JT (@lufc_) September 14, 2020
He gonna be a top player hopefully see him for first team soon
— Stephen Maher 💙💛 (@stevemaher34) September 14, 2020
The Merseyside Messi
— Chris LUFC 💙💛 (@chrislufc1977) September 14, 2020
Steal at a million quid
— Mark Williamson (@hedgehoguk84) September 14, 2020
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay shares why Barry Douglas missed the 4-3 defeat against Liverpool
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