Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt has withdrawn from England U20 duty due to injury…
That’s according to a report from LeedsLive, who have revealed that the 19-year-old has returned to Thorp Arch in a bid to aid his recovery ahead of the Whites’ trip to north London to face Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.
The young frontman missed their 1-1 draw with Leicester City at the weekend with an unknown injury and it seems as if it is bad enough to keep him out of the internationals this break.
Gelhardt was originally named in Andy Edwards’ squad alongside Elland Road teammates Sam Greenwood, Lewis Bate and Cody Drameh.
This has to be a massive cause for concern for Marcelo Bielsa as he has been light on options in attack, with first-choice striker Patrick Bamford also facing time on the treatment table in recent weeks.
Indeed, the senior England international has missed each of Leeds’ last six league outings and without Gelhardt on Sunday, the Argentine boss only had Rodrigo, who is more of a second striker or a no.10 at his disposal.
Even Jack Harrison has led the line on the odd occasion, which goes to show just how bad Bielsa and his side have been suffering without Bamford.
Gelhardt has only featured in 124 minutes of action for the first team this season but he played a starring role from the bench in winning a late penalty against Wolves last month, in which the aforementioned Spaniard equalised from the spot to clinch a point.
The former Wigan Athletic graduate has been touted for big, big things in the past, with LeedsLive journalist Beren Cross once suggesting he could be Leeds’ best-ever business.
“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,” he claimed.
With 17 goals in 23 appearances at U23 level, the teenager would be an interesting prospect to fill the void left behind by Bamford, so this latest blow comes at the very worst time for him.
As that’s another option off the table for the time being, you could forgive Bielsa if he was absolutely reeling back in Yorkshire.