With Leeds United’s injury crisis not easing up, Marcelo Bielsa will have to use the full extent of his squad when his side take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Reports have suggested that the Whites will be without Patrick Bamford after last weekend’s goalscoring hero suffered a hamstring injury – it’s not yet clear how long the England international will be out for.
While the 28-year-old’s absence will no doubt be a big blow given his form since the club’s return to the Premier League, Bielsa should have no hesitation in turning towards one of his club’s brightest young academy talents in Joe Gelhardt.
The 19-year-old has had a taste of Premier League football this season, coming on in back-to-back games against Southampton and Wolves, before being handed a starting berth against Spurs a few weeks ago.
Leeds Live’s Beren Cross has already suggested that, for a reported £1m, the teenager could well be the best piece of transfer business the Whites have done in a number of years, saying: “As I’m sure we’ll find out in the years ahead, Gelhardt may well be the best bit of business the club has done in the last 20 years, if not ever, because he just looks absolutely outrageous, very, very good player.”
Writing in his post-match player ratings after Gelhardt’s superb match-saving cameo against Wolves in recent weeks, Cross said: “Excellent home debut for the teenager in the time he had on the field with the team playing as it was. As the pressure was poured onto the visitors in the last half an hour, Gelhardt was the man at the sharp end with the openings to bury. Denied an unforgettable debut strike by a good Jose Sa save. Won the penalty too.”
With seven goals in nine games at Premier League 2 level this term, Gelhardt is as prolific as ever in the academy and should be full of confidence knowing that Bielsa firmly has him in his plans.
With Bamford likely to be out with a hamstring injury for the clash against the Blues today, the Leeds manager must surely turn towards the teenager once again to lead the line.
Given that Chelsea won’t have seen much of him, as well as the impressive displays he’s already put in during his short time in the first team, Gelhardt could well terrify Thomas Tuchel’s side with his fearlessness.