Tony Dorigo surprised to see Joe Gelhardt get just 10 minutes in Leeds v Newcastle
Leeds United suffered their ninth defeat of the campaign at the weekend, with Newcastle United running out 1-0 winners at Elland Road.
The Whites were poor going forward, and Tony Dorigo could not believe that Marcelo Bielsa handed Joe Gelhardt just 10 minutes of action off the bench.
Leeds were without the injured Patrick Bamford for the sixth league game in a row, with Dan James leading the line, but the Wales international was not able to influence proceedings in the final third.
Dorigo wrote in his latest Yorkshire Evening Post column: “It was glaringly obvious that we were lacking Patrick Bamford or at least a natural centre forward.
“Daniel James does a fantastic job; he closes down, he does a lot of work but an out-and-out striker finds space in the box naturally and is in the right place to tuck it home.
“We didn’t have that so, at times when we put the ball in great areas, there was no runner there or we had two players making the same run and the final bit was lacking.
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“It was a surprise to me that Joe Gelhardt got only 10 minutes. That type of player, someone who has at least shown at Under-23 level he can get into the right areas, was what we needed.”
Gelhardt, 19, is no longer featuring for the under-23s on a regular basis, watching Monday’s game in the stands, so it is indeed surprising that he is not getting a lot of playing opportunities given the injury situation of the senior side’s attack.
He has a goal and an assist in eight Premier League games for Leeds so far this term, with his last goal involvement coming in the 3-1 win over Burnley earlier this month.
He came off the bench to feature for 32 minutes, providing the assist for the third goal, and he deserved more minutes against Newcastle.
The game was there to be won, but Leeds struggled to take their chances in front of goal.
Given Gelhardt’s style of play and qualities, he could have influenced the game had he come on 10 minutes earlier.
He came on five minutes after Jonjo Shelvey put the visitors ahead as Mateusz Klich’s replacement, and it proved too little, too late.
Leeds surely need senior and more experienced options off the bench if they want to be winning such games, but Gelhardt has proven what he is capable of doing for the youth team and while with Wigan Athletic, and he deserves more chances.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites want to sign int’l striker on loan with move already made.