By Anthony Onifade

22nd Sep, 2023 | 9:10am

Joe Gelhardt ruthlessly axed again in 0-0 draw v Hull City, Leeds United January transfer exit could be on his radar

In-form Hull City and 10-man Leeds United both had to settle for a point but it was another game which saw Joe Gelhardt ruthlessly axed by Daniel Farke.

The 21-year-old was again an unused substitute as the Whites played out another Championship goalless draw with and is yet to feature for the club since their EFL Cup penalty shoot-out triumph over Salford City (29 August).

The former on-loan Sunderland star enjoyed a fair run of games to start out the campaign back in the English second division, featuring in all of their first four games, registering just one goal in the EFL Cup win over Shrewsbury [SofaScore].

Now, it appears as though the forward has now fallen well down the pecking order under new boss Farke with the German preferring Joel Piroe and Georginio Rutter as his preferred options in attack.

It’s been a mixed time for Gelhardt since he arrived at Elland Road from Wigan Athletic three years ago after breaking onto the scene with some impressive performances for the Lancashire club and emerging as one of the hottest prospects outside of the Premier League.

He is one of a number of young English talents the Whites have scooped up in recent years in the hope that they could one day play a major role in the first team in the future.

The forward’s best form for the club has come for the U-21s side, where he has smashed in 20 goals and laid on six assists in 30 appearances before his introduction in the first team during the 2021/22 campaign.

But since making his first-team debut against Fulham in the Carabao Cup in 2021, he has been largely underwhelming at that level despite showing early promise.

The club showed last year that they believe in Gelhardt’s potential after handing him a new five-year contract that will run until the summer of 2027 and even handing him a promising loan at Sunderland which ultimately proved rather unfruitful.

On his return to Leeds, he was linked with a permanent move back to the Stadium of Light but that never materialised.

Italian side Lecce were surprisingly also credited with an interest in the forward during the summer as there was a belief that he could “explode” if he was given the right opportunity.

However, he remained at Elland Road with a view to finally making his mark in Farke’s new and finally improved squad but after starting the Whites’ first four games, he’s now an unfortunate afterthought in Farke’s thinking with Piroe and Rutter excelling over the past few games.

As a result, it is difficult to see when Gelhardt will feature as a starter at Elland Road which means these next few months could well be a very tough one for him, with Patrick Bamford expected back from injury soon (Leeds Live, 20 September).

With the forward’s minutes ruthlessly decreasing it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see him shipped out on loan again once the January window comes around, but even then, he has all of three months till that happens.

How quickly things change in a young player’s career after an impressive breakthrough, and in Gelhardt’s case, it seems as if he is stuck between a rock and a hard place at Elland Road. How he gets out of this situation remains up to Farke and himself.

In other Leeds United news, one summer Elland Road-linked player shares why he rejected the chance to join after an £8m deal was agreed.