By Olly Allen

22nd Nov, 2021 | 8:45pm

Joe Gelhardt on Leeds breakthrough and Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt has opened up on working under Marcelo Bielsa and making his first Premier League start.

With Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo both absent through injury, Bielsa handed Gelhardt an opportunity from the off against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Despite the Whites falling to a 2-1 defeat, the 19-year-old was one of the most impressive performers and earned plenty of praise from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp.

Speaking to Leeds’ official website about the match, Gelhardt said: “It was hard in the first 20 minutes to get used to the pace of the game.

“It was my first time starting in the Premier League but I think after that I saw it as a normal game of football that I have been doing all my life.”

The forward also spoke about how much he has developed under Bielsa, despite taking a while to get used to the vigorous nature of playing for the Argentine.  

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“It is hard being in this team with the physical demands, but once you’ve been training like that for a year and a bit, your body adapts,” he said.

“I have learnt so much in a year of being here, the intensity of training, the amount of technical and tactical information.

“Marcelo Bielsa has been very good to work under and you learn a lot from him.”

Promising future

Gelhardt’s performance against Tottenham on Sunday set plenty of tongues wagging and he has certainly made a lot of people aware of his potential.

After scoring 11 goals in 16 appearances in Premier League 2 for Leeds’ Under-23 side in 2020-21, it always seemed likely that he was going to get opportunities under Bielsa this season.

Having been named on the bench for three of the first seven Premier League matches, Gelhardt then made substitute appearances against Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers – winning a late penalty against the latter.

The teenager is certainly not alone in initially struggling with life under Bielsa, with the Argentine’s infamous ‘murderball’ sessions likely to be a shock for any player.

But Gelhardt proved himself more than capable of playing the Bielsa way against Spurs, driving forward with constant energy and running himself into the ground.

In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has had his say on Dan James’ goal against Tottenham.