By George Overhill

18th Mar, 2022 | 8:38am

Leeds United want Joe Gelhardt to sign a new contract 'as soon as possible'

Leeds United want Joe Gelhardt tied down to a new contract “as soon as possible” after his rise to prominence this season, The Athletic reports.

The teenager scored a dramatic 94th-minute winning goal against Norwich at the weekend, his second strike in the Premier League after a breakout year, and the club have already made contact with the player’s team over an improved deal.

The England under-20 international has gained significantly more minutes since the arrival of Jesse Marsch, after previous manager Marcelo Bielsa was reticent to throw him into the first-team during the Whites’ injury crisis.

In a joint Athletic article from Phil Hay and Mark Carey today (Friday 18 March) it says: “The 19-year-old’s form over the past nine months has pushed him towards the upper end of the list of players who Leeds would like to tie to new contracts as soon as possible.

“The terms he signed when he moved from Wigan in 2020 ran for four years and the subject of an improved deal has already been broached with his camp, although with Leeds tied up in a relegation fight, negotiations are likely to wait until the season is resolved.”

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Patrick Bamford may be back, but this season has shown us how badly United needed a capable back-up.

Bielsa’s preference for Tyler Roberts was not a success, and the Norwich goal, for all it was only against the league’s bottom side, proved the quality that Joffy has.

He won the header that sprung Raphinha free, and was the first one there in the key position to finish off the move.

New boss Marsch clearly rates him as he has shown none of the qualms that his predecessor did in getting the youngster on the pitch.

Granted, the injury to Roberts has forced his hand slightly, but it suggests an important role going forward.

The Athletic piece indicates that Gelhardt is behind only Marcus Rashford’s breakout season, and Tammy Abraham’s loan move to Swansea in terms of Premier League minutes for teenage English strikers in the last six years.

Currently on 461, that number is guaranteed to rise in the coming weeks, and if he can make another telling contribution or two to the relegation fight his place will be 100% secured.

Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, the club need to tie him down long-term in the summer.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared the behind the scenes reaction that lead to the response vs Norwich.