By Craig Scott

17th Oct, 2021 | 4:00pm

Phil Hay reacts as Joe Gelhardt makes Premier League debut in Leeds United loss v Southampton

Phil Hay felt sorry for Joe Gelhardt as the young striker made his Premier League debut for Leeds United on Saturday.

Gelhardt, 19, came off the bench to replace Mateusz Klich in the 77th minute as Marcelo Bielsa aimed to salvage a point away at Southampton.

Unfortunately, Gelhardt wasn’t able to help much as Leeds lost 1-0 at St Mary’s and The Athletic journalist Hay doesn’t feel as though it was a game the ex-Wigan starlet should’ve played in.

“That was tough for Gelhardt today,” Hay wrote on The Athletic website after the game on Saturday.

“You want to see him get a chance but you want to see him get a chance when it’s likely he can make an impact.

“Today he was coming into a side who hadn’t been at it all day – so no surprise that he wasn’t able to do much.”

Lack of depth

While Gelhardt would have liked to have made his Premier League debut under better circumstances, the youngster pretty much had to be used away at Southampton.

Bielsa’s refusal to strengthen his options at Elland Road over the summer left him short of quality on the bench on Saturday.

None of Bielsa’s starters performed well with Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips all out and the manager had nowhere to turn other than to play youngsters as substitutes in the second half as things failed to improve.

Adam Forshaw, who’s barely played in the last two years, Gelhardt and Crysensio Summerville were all brought off the bench in the second half. None of Bielsa’s other substitutes have ever played in England’s top-flight.

It was effectively an Under-23s bench for a starting line-up that lacked any real quality.

It’s no shock at all we lost.

In other Leeds United news, a BBC pundit has mooted a mega-money move to a rich club for this Elland Road ace.