The Athletic’s Phil Hay has earmarked Leeds United starlet Joe Gelhardt as one to watch in the Premier League this season.
The 19-year-old has yet to make a first-team appearance at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa, but Hay has tipped the teenager to be the club’s surprise package.
During a Q&A for The Athletic, the journalist name-checked the likes of Jamie Shackleton and Cody Drameh, but reserved special praise for Gelhardt and said 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 last summer but has since made a big impression behind the scenes at Thorp Arch, with Hay previously revealing that the club feel 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 11 goals in just 18 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.
Bielsa has just Patrick Bamford as a recognised striker option to call upon, and with the Whites yet again not bringing in a new striker to add some competition, it’s surely the perfect time for Gelhardt to be brought into the fold.
The 18-year-old made it onto the bench for the Premier League games against Manchester City and Liverpool towards the back end of last season, but wasn’t brought on.
With Hay claiming that Gelhardt is highly-rated inside the club, this season seems like the perfect chance for Bielsa to give him a chance in the first-team.
Fans will surely be excited with Hay’s prediction that the 19-year-old could be Leeds’ surprise package this season in the Premier League.