Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he thinks Marcelo Bielsa could hand Leeds United teenager Joe Gelhardt the chance to shine in the Premier League for the Whites – and that the summer signing could save the club a lot of money.
Gelhardt, 18, joined Leeds in the summer from cash-strapped Wigan Athletic. Believed to be worth much more than the £1million (Sun) that Leeds paid for him, Gelhardt is shining in Mark Jackson’s Under-23 side – who have embarked on their first ever Premier League 2 campaign.
The Liverpool-born star has now scored four goals in seven Premier League 2 outings, three of which have come in his last two games. Compared to Wayne Rooney recently, eagle-eyed Leeds fans have caught wind of Gelhardt’s performances with the reserves – and some are now calling for him to be included in Bielsa’s senior side.
Leeds legend Martyn reflected on the likes of Alan Smith, Harry Kewell and Jonatham Woodgate breaking into the senior side – and reckons Bielsa could hand him the odd substitute appearance here and there. Martyn also stated that bringing Gelhardt through and getting him to impress could save the club splashing out £30million on a new striker.
“You’ve got to trust the manager,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News when asked if Gelhardt could get a chance. “When I was at Leeds, there was a real crop of young players – Kewell, Woodgate. He gave them a chance. You could see there was something there in training, and when they got in, they took their chance. Same with Alan Smith.
“But the manager is watching these young lads in training differently to you. I’m sure he will bring him slowly, bring him on the bench to start with and throw him on for 20 minutes – and if he does well, he could start the next game. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than spending £30million on a striker. If he’s good enough, bring him in.”
Gelhardt will have caught the eye not just for his goals in the Under-23 side, but more for his explosive displays that see him play with passion and strength. Much like a young Rooney, Gelhardt boasts a mix of power and technique that opposing defenders struggle with. His creativity and ability to drop deep has also brought the best out of Sam Greenwood.
The two summer signings have developed an excellent partnership up top – with Greenwood arriving from Arsenal in the summer. As a last man, Greenwood has thrived on Gelhardt dropping in. It will be interesting to see if either are considered for November 22’s clash against Arsenal.
Nigel Martyn speaks to Leeds United News: Archive