By Beck Pascal

8th Jan, 2022 | 11:45am

Gelhardt injury opens door for Greenwood at Leeds United

Sam Greenwood can follow in Joe Gelhardt’s footsteps after his Leeds United teammate’s ankle injury. 

The pair have shone for the Under-23’s this season with Gelhardt being given the opportunity to step up to the first team thanks to Marcelo Bielsa’s injury crisis. 

Gelhardt carved the way for the youth players looking to step up this season, something Greenwood might take advantage of with his England youth international teammate now injured. 

Speaking on Gelhardt Bielsa told Yorkshire Evening Post: “For the expectations that the fans have of his game and his possibilities and his resources, evidently he is a player who has connected in a big way with the Leeds fans,” 

“That’s a characteristic not many players have, he generates hope and expectation. He increases the enthusiasm of fans and there are not many players who do that.”

He added “He is a player who is able to resolve a lot of things in the play with his individual qualities,” said Bielsa.

“I can’t be precise but I can’t think of many 20-year-olds in the Premier League who come from the academy. When a player establishes himself at that age it is because he has shown he is very good.”

Fight for the first team

One positive that has come from the Whites’ injury crisis this season would be the opportunities given to their academy prospects. 

Greenwood and Gelhardt are two players that have shared the youth stage for many years which has led to good friendship off the pitch. 

As much as Greenwood will be disappointed that his mate has picked up an injury at such a crucial stage in his rise to the first team, he will be licking his lips at the opportunity it now presents. 

He has big shoes to fill though with Gelhardt stealing the spotlight when playing making himself a fans favourite. 

Something Greenwood is more than capable of with 11 goal involvements in the Premier League 2 and being backed on several occasions by Bielsa most notably coming on in the second half of last season’s FA Cup clash with Crawley Town. 

If he plays his cards right, he could give Bielsa a real headache in which youngster to back once Gelhardt returns. 

In other Whites news, Leeds United want to sign Barcelona sensation Ferran Jutgla – report.