A pundit has told Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch he should drop Patrick Bamford from the starting eleven and instead utilise a ‘hungry’ young forward.
Bamford managed just two Premier League goals last season after spending a large amount of time in the treatment room. He had to deal with ankle, hamstring and foot problems, limiting him to 10 appearances in all competitions.
The striker is back in contention this term but is yet to reach full fitness. Marsch has selected him in nine out of Leeds’ 11 league matches so far, though he is yet to complete a full 90 minutes in any of them.
Not only is Bamford struggling to keep up with the pace of the Prem, he is also lacking confidence in front of goal. He has missed several good chances for Leeds in recent weeks and hasn’t got off the mark with his first goal of the season.
There is a strong argument for Marsch to go with Rodrigo up top when Leeds face Liverpool on Saturday, rather than Bamford.
Rodrigo opened the scoring for Leeds against Fulham with a header at the back post, after Jack Harrison had seen his shot blocked by Tim Ream. Leeds eventually lost the game 3-2, but Marsch could do with Rodrigo scoring more goals if he is to keep his job.
Former Aston Villa attacker Gabby Agbonlahor has now given his verdict on Bamford and Leeds’ striker options.
He reckons Bamford is miles off the pace and should be replaced by the ‘hungry’ and ‘lively’ Joe Gelhardt.
Leeds attacker ‘is nowhere near it’, says Agbonlahor
“I feel like Bamford is nowhere near it, I don’t know why he keeps getting game time,” Agbonlahor said during an interview with online outlet Football Insider.
“I’d give the youngster a chance. He’s hungry, more athletic and has got more about him than Bamford, for me. It’s very strange.
“Maybe he [Marsch] looks at the Liverpool game and changes it because it’s not working with Bamford. He doesn’t look athletic enough at the moment and doesn’t look like scoring.
“Gelhardt deserves a chance. He’s lively and looks like he wants to impress. When you’re a youngster you want to impress and he looks like that.”
Gelhardt usually comes on in the last 10 minutes of league matches for Leeds. Despite this, he has a habit of helping them to score late goals.
Last term, Gelhardt registered goals against Chelsea and Norwich with full time nearing. In total, the England U21 international managed two goals and four assists in 20 appearances.
His first goal contribution this season actually came against Fulham at the weekend. Gelhardt f0rced his way past two Fulham players before sending Crysencio Summerville through with a clever pass, which the winger used to poke into the net.
Jesse Marsch can also use new signing up front
And Gelhardt isn’t the only exciting young forward Marsch has at his disposal. The Whites spent just under £4million to sign Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich on transfer deadline day.
Gnonto is highly rated, having come through Inter Milan’s academy and won several caps for the Italy national team. The teenager is yet to make his senior Leeds debut though, so it would be a good idea if Marsch brought him into the fold soon.
Agbonlahor’s verdict on Bamford makes sense due to his recent profligacy in front of goal. And Gelhardt has done enough to warrant a start in an upcoming game.
However, it is likely Marsch will persevere with Bamford and play either him or Rodrigo this weekend. The best way to get Bamford firing is to keep him playing and make sure he is on the journey back to full fitness.