Leeds United fans may be made to wait for Joe Gelhardt’s senior debut because ‘Marcelo Bielsa is not one to bow to supporter demands’.
That’s according to Leeds Live journalist Joe Donnohue.
Bielsa’s side face Fulham on Tuesday night in the third round of the Carabao Cup; and Gelhardt, who joined the Whites from Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee in August 2020, may view the fixture as an opportunity for a senior Leeds debut.
He has made the matchday squad in the Premier League on nine separate occasions without earning a runout (via Transfermarkt), but Gelhardt’s form for the Whites’ under-23s has been electric, with 15 goals in just 22 appearances.
He bagged two goals and set up another on Sunday as Leeds’ youngsters ran out 4-0 winners away to Liverpool, with coach Mark Jackson labelling the goals ‘special’ (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
Writing for Leeds Live, Donnohue has said that a debut for Gelhardt ‘seems to be the flavour of the month’, but thinks that Bielsa will opt instead for the ‘vastly more experienced’ Tyler Roberts up front tonight, despite the Welshman’s poor return of just one top-flight goal in 32 games since the start of last season.
‘That may well be the scenario’ because the Leeds manager ‘sets out to win every game’ and won’t hand out opportunities for the sake of it, according to the journalist.
Donnohue did add, however, that Crysencio Summerville and Charlie Cresswell are ‘in line to start’ as part of what could be ‘a young team’.
Having played 90 minutes against Liverpool’s under-23s on Sunday, it may be the case that Gelhardt isn’t physically ready to start a game on Tuesday night, but perhaps he could feature as a substitute.
It is a little strange that he is yet to see any first team action despite being named on the bench on multiple occasions, and Leeds ought to be wary of frustrating one of their top prospects. How long will it be before he leapfrogs the largely ineffective Roberts in the pecking order…if he is given the chance to do so?
In other news, Leeds are still interested in this summer target.
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