Joe Gelhardt is likely to make the Leeds United bench for the clash against Arsenal at the Emirates today (Sunday), according to Phil Hay.
Writing on The Athletic website, the ex-Yorkshire Evening Post journalist reported that it “seems likely to be that Gelhardt will be on the bench again”.
Gelhardt is yet to make a senior Leeds appearance since joining from Wigan in the summer but was an unused substitute when named in the first-team squad for the first time against Crystal Palace on Monday.
Deserved senior call-up for Joffy
Since joining Leeds from Wigan in the summer, Gelhardt has had to make do with Under-23s football.
He was playing regularly in Wigan’s first-team in the Championship so to suddenly get demoted to youth football again could have been seen as a step backwards for the young forward.
However, he’s taken to the Under-23s within his stride and been scoring a lot of goals for Leeds in Premier League 2.
In 11 appearances, Gelhardt has scored seven goals for the Whites’ Under-23s with two of them coming in his last outing against Middlesbrough earlier this month.
Gelhardt has Championship experience from his time at Wigan, is in top form for the Under-23s and was on the bench against Palace so it’s surely only a matter of time before we see him in action for the Whites for the first time.
Whether that will happen at Arsenal on Sunday remains to be seen.
Patrick Bamford is nailed on to start and is unlikely to be substituted off unless he suffers a dreaded injury.
Rodrigo’s spell on the sidelines has opened up a slot for Gelhardt in the first team and as much as we don’t want to see players getting injured, it’s sometimes the only way for talented youngsters like Gelhardt to impress.
Speaking after the win over Palace on Monday as the 18-year-old watched on from the bench, Bielsa was quoted by LeedsLive as saying: “Prior to the game yesterday, Gelhardt had been one of the better players in the Under-23s. And given the absence of Pablo [Hernandez], we thought that Tyler Roberts could play as a number ten or as a striker and the same for Gelhardt. We follow every Under-23s game closely, we constantly ask for advice from their manager and he suggested that we bring in Gelhardt. We thought that it was a correct recommendation.”
Bielsa and his coaches must be impressed by Gelhardt and hopefully, that continues in the senior squad once he makes his long-awaited debut.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are set to be snubbed by a central midfielder they want to sign.