Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Noel Whelan is glad to hear young Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt is not injured as the mystery surrounding his recent absence grows.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker and boyhood Elland Road fan admitted manager Marcelo Bielsa always leaves you second-guessing when players are missing.

The summer signing from Wigan Athletic has not played for Leeds’ Under-23s all year and missed the senior side’s FA Cup third-round tie against Crawley Town despite a number of his Under-23 teammates making the trip to East Sussex.

Leeds United

While the club have not commented on the 18-year-old’s absence, BBC reported Adam Pope tweeted last weekend he was not injured.

“It’s very rare that the club will disclose anything about players, whether it’s Covid or something else,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“You’ve got to kind of second guess with Marcelo Bielsa want he will tell you and what he won’t tell you regarding a player’s absence or any kind of illness.

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“He does keep everything closed book where other clubs will come out and say ‘We’ve got Covid in the camp. Simple as.’ He seems to do it a different way.

“You can second guess whether it’s Covid related or family related, but it’s very strange to be absent without being given a real reason. The media need that reason to understand what’s going on.

“He leaves that page blank so you can fill in those dots yourself if you like.

“It’s good news that it is not an injury and you’ve got to read between the lines with the way Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United handle these sorts of things.”

In other news, Danny Mills has tipped a Leeds United player for their first start against Newcastle United after Thorp Arch sighting.