Leeds United employee tips 'kid' Gelhardt for big role v Brighton

By Noel Whelan

14th May, 2022 | 12:35pm

Leeds United employee issues definitive verdict on Joe Gelhardt starting v Brighton after 'huge' development

Noel Whelan has urged Jesse Marsch to start Joe Gelhardt for Leeds United against Brighton after benching him versus Chelsea.

The former Leeds forward and club ambassador, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 20-year-old has the “maturity” to lead the line when the Seagulls visit Elland Road.

Gelhardt featured for the final 12 minutes against Chelsea, having been dropped from the starting XI.

He started the game prior versus Arsenal but was sacrificed for Pascal Struijk after just 29 minutes following Luke Ayling’s red card.

Whelan insisted Leeds need a natural striker against Brighton and tipped Gelhardt to return to the XI.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “It’s very difficult as a young player to come into any squad when you’re on the back of defeats. It’s a lot to carry on your shoulders and a lot of responsibility.

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“It’s made more difficult with the injuries and the sending offs. We’re losing that experience, we’re losing players. Dan James, Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw, that is a huge amount of experience in these last few games we’re missing.

“I hope it doesn’t hurt us, I hope somebody steps into their shoes and becomes that leader. Probably a little bit earlier than they expected.

“We’ve not had a natural goalscoring striker, a number nine, all season. That’s been difficult for us. Whoever’s played there has found it quite difficult to play that number nine role. In my opinion, Gelhardt is the more natural number nine.

“He is as close as to a number nine as we’ve got at that football club and I believe he’s got to start. There’s nothing in my mind that says that kid will not thrive against Brighton. I think he can take all the responsibility, he’s got that maturity about him in his game.

“We need captains and leaders out there. It might come a little early for some but they need to rise to this challenge.”

In other news, Leeds United employee issues ‘surprise’ Patrick Bamford comeback verdict after training ground latest.