Leeds may have already found Roberts replacement 'from people I've spoken to' - Whelan

Leeds United may already have a replacement for Tyler Roberts in Joe Gelhardt, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has heard from his sources that Gelhardt, 19, is best deployed in a number 10 position rather than as a number nine.

Gelhardt starred for Leeds United’s Under-23s last season and scored 11 goals in 16 Premier League 2 appearances.

His form earned him a call-up to the first team squad but he was never handed his debut by Marcelo Bielsa despite being named on the bench eight times.

Whelan believes Gelhardt can challenge Roberts, who is attracting the interest of Newcastle after snubbing Leeds’ latest contract offer (17 May), next season.

“A loan move is possible for Gelhardt but I think he will get his chance in the first team next season,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

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“We have not signed another number 10 as of yet and Tyler Roberts has not signed a new contract. There could be a ready-made position for him in the squad if Roberts leaves.

“From the people I’ve spoken to Gelhardt is best in a number 10 role, not a number nine.

“I would expect him after an amazing season with the Under-23s to get his chance. He can only do so much with the Under-23s. You have to bide your time with Bielsa. 

“It is is time for him to take the next step and gain some experience. Whether that be a loan move or in the first team.

“Whether Tyler Roberts stays or goes, Gelhardt will fancy his chances of taking his spot in the squad next season. I think he could edge out Tyler Roberts.

“I want to see young players fight first team players for their spot in the squad.” 

In other news, La Liga expert has insight on Leeds signing Galan for ‘bargain’ price after Wednesday update.