Athletic journalist Phil Hay has said that if he had to bet his mortgage on one of the current Leeds United Under-23s making the breakthrough into the Premier League it would be Joe Gelhardt.

A group of three players from the Under-23s have made it onto the senior bench this season – Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville. Cody Drameh is another who is being tipped to make it into the first team.

Talking on the latest episode of the Phil Hay podcast, the Athletic journalist said that U23s manager Mark Jackson had said that it would be a big challenge for the youngsters to play in the PL2 Division 1 next season, against the likes of Man City and Liverpool.

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But even bigger challenges could await.

“Even though there hasn’t been a massive flood from the Under-23s to the first team this season, I do feel more and more that there is a group with several players in who could play in the Premier League,” said Hay.

Asked who he thought would make it Hay said, “If you were asking me to put my mortgage on it, it would be Joe Gelhardt.

“I was talking to Nick Chadwick who worked with him at Wigan and he spoke of Gelhardt as being ‘extraordinarily talented’.

“Absolutely, he’s the one I’d put money on. If I was betting your mortgage I’d be talking about Drameh and Charlie Cresswell.”

Final game of the season?

With Leeds making a late push for Europe and with each place in the Premier League worth a few million, we’re expecting Marcelo Bielsa to play his strongest team for the rest of this season.

He’s also a stickler for integrity and wouldn’t want to be seen to be giving any other team an advantage with material things still to play for.

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However, the last game of the season might be a different matter.

We host West Brom who will almost certainly be relegated by that point.

It might make the final game of the season a dead rubber and it might lead Marcelo Bielsa to give Gelhardt his debut.

That would also give Leeds fans the opportunity to roar him on as it’s the first game back in Elland Road for them.

However, Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez might be marking this game with their last appearances and Bielsa will probably prioritise a proper send-off for them in front of the fans than any Under-23s players.

They might have to prove themselves over a long, hard pre-season.

In other Leeds United news, Leeds target 40y/o manager who has excelled in EL as potential Bielsa replacement – report

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