Patrick Bamford has heaped praise on young Leeds United Under-23 striker Joe Gelhardt and tipped him for success in the future.

Comparing him to Premier League legend Wayne Rooney, Bamford also warned that it was a huge step up to the Under-23s and that he would need to work hard to realise his destiny.

Talking on the official Leeds United podcast, Bamford was asked if either Gelhardt or Sam Greenwood could step in and do what he does.

“I think it’s difficult for the young lads playing the 23s,” Bamford said.

“Even though they cover the same amount of ground it’s always different. It’s a massive step up for them.

“Joffy is going to be good, he reminds me, I don’t want to say the same level of Rooney, but he’s the same sort of build that Rooney was, a stocky lad, great finisher.

“It’s just whether he sticks with it or not, he’s young and it’s all up to him now.”

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Debut is coming

Gelhardt has made the bench for the last few games and seems to be closer than Greenwood to making his Premier League bow.

Greenwood played in the FA Cup against Crawley and found out for himself how big the step up is to the first-team, even against lower-league opposition.

That’s why Gelhardt will be managed properly.

He’s still only 18 years old but to have someone like Bamford saying you’re a ‘great finisher’ is huge encouragement. And he has to be careful the Rooney comparison doesn’t go to his head.

The one thing in Gelhardt’s favour in getting a debut this season is that he’s played in the Championship for the Wigan first-team.

And Bielsa has shown that he’s ready to blood youngsters if he feels that they’re ready.

We think he will get on the pitch this season but in carefully managed minutes, in games where the points are already safe.

In other Leeds United news, Bielsa confirms two Leeds players out v Aston Villa as big warning sounded over Phillips

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