Joe Gelhardt likely to spend pre-season with Leeds United before key 2021/22 decision
Joe Gelhardt is likely to stay at Leeds United for pre-season before a decision is made on his whereabouts for the 2021/22 campaign, according to Alan Nixon.
The Sun journalist was asked whether the 19-year-old would be allowed to leave on loan after failing to feature for Leeds last season.
He answered on his personal Twitter profile: “Think he plays pre-season for Leeds…then see where he’s at.”
Think he plays pre season for Leeds … then see where he’s at … https://t.co/oSrK2Sst4Z
— Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) June 5, 2021
Raring to go
Gelhardt enjoyed a sensational season with the triumphant Leeds Under-23 side during the 2020/21 campaign, scoring 11 goals and registering three assists as the young Whites tore the Premier League 2 (Division 2) apart to lift the title.
The second-string side will face a step-up in class next season after achieving promotion to the first division where they will face heavyweights such as Chelsea and Manchester City.
However, Gelhardt has surely done enough to convince Marcelo Bielsa and the rest of the coaching staff that he is ready for the rigours of first-team football.
The 2020 signing from Wigan Athletic failed to make his Whites debut under Bielsa but the Argentine did name the 19-year-old on the bench for a few fixtures, including big game clashes with Liverpool and Manchester City in April.
Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross labelled him an “outrageous” talent on the ‘Orta Know Better’ podcast in April.
There is clearly a lot of faith placed in him but breaking into this current Leeds team is not easy, particularly in the forward areas.
Only Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah and Bruno Fernandes struck more Premier League goals than striker Patrick Bamford last season, while Raphinha and Jack Harrison have got the wing positions pretty much locked down, with reinforcements expected.
Playing on the wing is not something Gelhardt is naturally suited to anyway, so it appears his only route into the side would be if Bamford is struck down by injury, or Bielsa plays him as a more advanced midfielder.
That seems unlikely given Rodrigo’s resurgence in the side last season, and with the Whites expected to recruit in that area in the summer.
Therefore a loan move may be best for Gelhardt, and he has surely shown enough to attract interest from the top sides in the Championship.