Amid a tough start to the Premier League season, Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa will no doubt be working night and day ahead of his team’s clash against Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The Whites suffered a dismal defeat last time out in the top flight as they fell 1-0 to Southampton on the south coast, and with a number of injury concerns to boot as well, things aren’t looking so rosy at the moment at Elland Road.
While the Yorkshire club will be boosted by the return of Raphinha, Bielsa could light a fire in his squad by making the bold call of giving talented academy starlet Joe Gelhardt his first senior start for the club.
Do you want to see Gelhardt start?
During a Q&A for The Athletic, Phil Hay reserved special praise for the 19-year-old and stated that he could be the man to make the biggest impression.
He said: “Possibly Shackelton. I’d like to think Drameh might get a chance if Ayling gets injured or has to relocate to centre-back. But Gelhardt is the one, I feel. So much talent there. Everyone talks about it.”
The former Wigan starlet only arrived at Elland Road in the summer of 2020 but has since made a big impression behind the scenes at Thorp Arch, with Hay previously revealing that the club believe they pulled off an absolute steal.
He said: “He’s been hugely impressive in the (Under-23s). Every time I see him, he looks like a massively talented player. Leeds have been quite honest in saying that the money they paid for him, around about £700,000 up front, from what I was told, is a small fee for somebody with massive amounts of talent.”
With 17 goals in just 23 games at Premier League 2 level, including a stunning hat-trick in a 5-0 win over West Brom last season, Gelhardt is doing everything he can to make waves at academy level.
With Rodrigo not in the greatest form either – the Spaniard has yet to score or assist all season in the Premier League – Wolves today could be the perfect springboard for Gelhardt to make his mark.
While all the talk and focus will be on Raphinha’s potential return to the starting line-up, Bielsa could spring a surprise and really catch the eye by giving Gelhardt the chance to start up front after giving him a cameo against the Saints last week.
The pair could breathe some fresh life into this Leeds team if paired together.