Marcelo Bielsa should promote Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt into the first team immediately, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites and Coventry forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, wants the 18-year-old to be given a chance in the first team after a “flying” start to the season for the club’s under-23s.

A brace from Gelhardt helped Leed’s under-23s side move up to second place in the Premier League 2 table after an emphatic 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at Thorp Arch.

The teenage striker was signed in a near-£1million deal from Wigan Athletic last summer, penning a four-year contract at Elland Road.

Whelan identified Patrick Bamford as the first team’s only recognised centre-forward and urged Bielsa to bring Gelhardt into the first team to offer support.

“The kid has got talent and if you are good enough, you are old enough,” he told Football Insider. “It is as simple as that.

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“He is excelling for the 23s and we do not have an out-and-out striking option on the bench so I would love to see him being integrated into that squad now. I think he is ready, I really do.

“There is no point in progressing him in the under-23s any longer quite frankly. He is flying there.

 

“We do not have another out-and-out striker and he can be another option off the bench. You have got to look at that because we are not blessed with a million and one strikers at the football club.

“We need to give Patrick Bamford a little bit of help. Give the young man a chance.”

In other Leeds United news, Kevin Campbell is blown away by ‘brilliant’ signing after Leicester defeat.