Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt may earn opportunities under Jesse Marsch than he did under Marcelo Bielsa, according to journalist Joe Donnohue.
The young striker played the final half-hour as the Whites fell to a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City in the American’s first game in charge on Saturday.
The 19-year-old, who has 18 goals in 27 games for Leeds at under-23 level, has featured in the Premier League matchday squad 20 times this season but only made 11 appearances (totalling 411 minutes) and has been awarded just two starts up to this point (via Transfermarkt).
Freelance sports journalist Pete O’Rourke told Give Me Sport on Saturday that ‘the Leeds fans have been crying out for him to be given more of a chance’.
Donnohue feels it was significant that, in his first game as Leeds manager, Marsch turned to Gelhardt ahead of Tyler Roberts and Patrick Bamford, even if the latter was ‘lacking match fitness’.
The journalist tweeted on Saturday evening: “With the game poised at 0-0, Jesse Marsch turned to Joe Gelhardt from the bench. He’s worked with him for less than a week, but was summoned ahead of Roberts & Bamford – albeit lacking match fitness – today. Impression made, and rewarded.”
In a corresponding article for Leeds Live, Donnohue stated: “If his first thought when seeking a breakthrough was to turn to Gelhardt, this certainly bodes well for the young striker’s first-team prospects.”
Gelhardt should arguably be given a start against Aston Villa on Thursday night.
As for Roberts, he could well miss the game after ‘struggling’ with an apparent injury he sustained after coming on at the King Power Stadium yesterday.
If Gelhardt is to break into the team, Rodrigo should be the man to make way from the starting line-up. In the words of BBC Sport’s Raj Chohan, ‘he makes too many mistakes with his final pass or shot’, so the Spaniard may yet find himself as Marsch’s fall guy.
In other news, this duo looked ‘nervous’ in Marsch’s first game
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