Joe Gelhardt has bid farewell to Sunderland with a post on Instagram on Monday evening after spending the second half of the campaign on loan at the Stadium of Light – prompting Leeds teammate Sam Greenwood to respond.
Gelhardt, 21, endured a bit of a difficult spell on Wearside. He initially joined with the intention of playing just behind talisman Ross Stewart – a bit of a 9.5, in between a 10 and a nine. However, Stewart picked up an achilles injury.
It meant that Gelhardt had to lead the line in place of Stewart. Thrown in at the deep end and tasked with occupying two central defenders, Joffy did struggle. He scored three goals in 20 games, as well as laying on three assists.
Gelhardt’s work rate, technical ability and creativity was not questioned – but his prowess as an out-and-out no.9 is clearly not as natural as many will think. Sunderland got to the play-off semi-finals, but that was as far as it went.
A very good season for Tony Mowbray’s side given they only gained promotion from League One the season before. Gelhardt – who was described as brilliant by Sunderland’s Luke O’Nien – said goodbye, confirming a Leeds return.
Leeds star Gelhardt bids farewell to Sunderland with post on Instagram
So, what happens now for Gelhardt? Well, realistically, Leeds look set to be relegated and that might actually suit Gelhardt. In the Premier League, he was always going to be behind the likes of Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford.
But with relegation likely, you would expect Rodrigo to go after a wonderful season. Bamford has had to endure the worst from the fans and he might feel he wants a change. Gelhardt could be the man Leeds turn to up front.
What is for sure, is that his best mate Greenwood will be happy to have Joffy back at Elland Road ahead of pre-season – whichever League, Leeds find themselves in. Greenwood, an ex-Sunderland player, commented.