Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has suffered a gutting injury blow just before his side’s Premier League clash against Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
Joe Gelhardt has been a revelation for the club’s U23s since making the move from Wigan last summer, bagging 11 goals in 16 Premier League 2 games and providing another three assists – the 19-year-old played a key role in helping Leeds clinch the title and earn promotion.
With the Premier League in its final stages, the teenager would surely have been hoping to finally get a chance to impress in the first-team, but it appears that may not be the case.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against the Clarets this afternoon, Bielsa confirmed that Gelhardt has been ruled out due to injury, thus knocking his chances of making his senior debut on the head.
And, in response to the news Gelhardt will be missing from the clash at Turf Moor, former Leeds man Noel Whelan said: “Another young player that has been doing well for the under-23s. You kind of want to see a little bit more, that little integration into the first team before the end of the season. I’m hoping we will do at some point but it’s disappointing that he’s not going to be there and fit for the Burnley game.
“It’s not just me, I think there’s lots of fans out there that are really excited by this young man. He’s exciting, he scores goals, he plays that little number 10 role very well. You think about players that could make an impact. Everyone’s really excited about Joe Gelhardt.”
Bielsa himself has previously gone on record to wax lyrical about the teenager just last month, saying: “His natural position is as a centre-forward. He’s a player who has a great capacity to finish off moves. He’s a player who has dribbling skills in the final third and just before the finalisation of the move.”
And after that praise, plenty of Leeds fans took to Twitter to admit they hoped they would see him in action for the first-team before the season was over, and urged the manager to give him some game time during the final few weeks of the campaign.
It’s exactly why both Bielsa and the club’s fans will no doubt be absolutely gutted that Gelhardt will not be making his first-team bow at Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime, and why it’s a setback for Leeds ahead of the game.