Football writer Beren Cross has claimed that Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt is currently the club’s ‘saviour’.
This season, things have not gone brilliantly for the Yorkshire club in the Premier League. As a result, they currently sit all the way down in 16th place, just two spots above the relegation zone.
One of the reasons for their struggles has been the absence of key striker Patrick Bamford. Last season, the Englishman played in all 38 league games, scoring 17 times – this term, he has started on just five occasions.
With such a vital player missing for most of the season, other players within the Leeds team have had to step up. One such individual is 19-year-old forward Gelhardt. Indeed, the youngster even helped set up a fine goal in the club’s recent 3-1 win over Burnley.
Discussing the player on a Leeds United Live Facebook video, Cross claimed that the teenager is producing an ‘incredible’ amount of hype amongst the fanbase with his fine performances.
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He said: “The hype around this kid is just incredible. Obviously, we like to think that the club are managing him properly, that the coaches are keeping his feet on the ground – I’m sure his peers are keeping his feet on the floor, we know what his teammates can be like at that age.
“But in terms of the general reaction to this guy, I mean, it’s remarkable, isn’t it? I mean, the hype is incredible from what he’s done with the 23s.
“And every time he comes on now, it feels like he’s the saviour. And that’s a lot for a young lad to take on his shoulders.”
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Despite only playing 301 Premier League minutes – and starting just twice in that time – the young attacker has already set up three goals for his teammates, while scoring one himself. Meanwhile, at youth level, he has netted seven times in nine Premier League 2 outings this season.
Looking at these statistics, it’s easy to see why he is getting a chance at senior football under Marcelo Bielsa – even if the injury to Bamford has played a big part in opening the door for Gelhardt.
As much as some fans really might be seeing the 19-year-old as their club’s ‘saviour’ this season, they will no doubt be hoping Bamford can return to fitness soon. Fortunately, this looks to be on the cards, with the forward being declared ‘healthy’ by his manager ahead of the recent match against the Clarets.