By Jonty Banks

23rd May, 2023 | 10:40am

Leeds United loanee Joe Gelhardt shares seven-word message with Sunderland fans

Leeds United loanee Joe Gelhardt has shared a message on social media with Sunderland fans after the conclusion of his spell at the Stadium of Light.

The Englishman enjoyed a fine spell with the Championship club, netting three goals and providing three assists from 18 outings, before narrowly losing 3-2 on aggregate to Luton Town in the playoff semi-finals last weekend.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay previously reported (20 April) that the striker could be set for another loan spell away from Elland Road if the Whites secure their Premier League safety, while relegation “might change everything”.

The 21-year-old took to Facebook on Monday evening (22 May) to share his appreciation with the club.

“Thank you everyone I enjoyed every minute,” he wrote.

Fruitful loan spell

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Although his numbers might not be eye-catching, Gelhardt played a crucial role in Tony Mowbray’s side reaching the top-six at the end of the Championship season.

The young striker struggled at first for a specific role in the first team, but he still played a part in all 18 of the club’s Championship matches, starting 16.

His imminent future at Elland Road is now likely to hinge on the result of the crunch clash against Spurs this weekend.

If Leeds manage to miraculously stave off relegation and remain a Premier League outfit, Gelhardt is likely to be sent packing on another loan, while relegation to the Championship should see him given a shot in the first team.

The Englishman is clearly in the long-term plans of the club, having signed a new long-term contract until 2027, but the route he takes to get regular first-team exposure is still unclear.

All things considered though, this loan spell to Sunderland can be classed as a major success for Gelhardt.

He has been awarded regular game time in a tough league and worked under a manager with a wealth of footballing experience.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay claims that an international player at Elland Road has no place at the club next season and a summer transfer is on the cards.