Blackpool manager Neil Critchley has slammed young Leeds United attacker Joe Gelhardt after a tackle on Ethan Robson in the EFL Trophy game on Wednesday night.

The Leeds United Under-21s crashed out of the competition after a 3-0 defeat, despite a strong starting XI that featured Kiko Casilla and Ian Poveda.

Talking in the Blackpool Gazette Critchley said that the “over-the-top” Gelhardt challenge probably led to the sending off of Cameron Antwi seconds later.

You can see the incident starting at the 1:17 mark.

“I was really disappointed with that, I’ve got to be honest,” Critchley said.

“I really thought the referee let him down. I thought the tackle before that was a shocking tackle. It was over the top of the ball and it should never have got to that point.

“Cam shows a little bit of over-enthusiasm, maybe because of the first tackle, and he goes in for the second tackle and he gets sent off and I thought that ruined his excellent performance.

“I’ve told him not to worry because I thought he was terrific. He’ll learn from that, but I thought the referee let him down.”

Gelhardt feeding on scraps

All eyes were on Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood last night, with some fans calling for them to be involved with the first team.

However, both of them were feeding on scraps last night and playing against League One opposition showed how much they need to improve to even be considered for Premier League action.

Critchley called the challenge from Gelhardt “over-the-top” but we thought it was robust and the referee saw nothing wrong with it.

The big question for Leeds after a hammering from Accrington Stanley and a big defeat against Blackpool is whether to carry on with the EFL Trophy next season.

We hope they do. It gives the youngsters some real competitive action and we think they’re big enough and strong enough to cope with the odd heavy defeat.

It does show the huge step up from the Under-23s to League One, though, and while there are a very talented bunch of young players at Thorp Arch, they’ve got a way to go yet.

In other Leeds United news, £70k/wk star axed after horror show, 3 big changes – Strongest Leeds XI v Arsenal

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