By Noel Whelan

18th Jun, 2022 | 12:02pm

Leeds United employee hails behind-the-scenes figures after Joe Gelhardt news

Noel Whelan has lauded the Leeds United recruitment team and coaching staff after Joe Gelhardt was nominated for the Golden Boy award.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker and club ambassador insisted the 20-year-old’s rise is a testament to the work put in behind the scenes at Elland Road.

As revealed on Wednesday (15 June), Gelhardt is among the 100 nominees for the Golden Boy award this year.

The shortlist, as compiled by Italian publication Tuttosport and voted on by journalists from various nations, recognises the best European players under 21.

Whelan insisted the backroom staff deserve credit for helping take Gelhardt’s game to new heights since his arrival at Elland Road.

Asked if the recruitment team deserve credit for identifying Gelhardt’s potential, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Absolutely. I think everyone’s got to take a little bit of credit for this nomination.

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“Just to recognise and see him when he was at Wigan as a young player coming through, to then take that opportunity to swoop in and bring him into the club.

“Not just that, that’s one part of it. The progression of getting him to where he is now as well takes a lot of work. A lot of time from the coaches. A lot of faith from everybody’s who’s brought him in and a lot of trust in your own ability.

“That comes down to Joe Gelhardt as well. Pushing himself in the under-23s. Putting in performances week in, week out. Having that desire to force his way into the first team, which he has.

“He hasn’t let anybody down since he has come into the first team. Every time he’s stepped foot on that field, there’s been an impact in one way or another.

“I think that does deserve recognition. Rightly so that everyone should feel pleased about that little part of the job that they’ve done.”

In other news, Leeds United tipped to sign ‘hidden gem’ on the cheap thanks to Jesse Marsch.