Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Bielsa backs Leeds star with rare trait ‘not many players have’ despite latest injury blow

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa has bemoaned the way in which Leeds United are suffering from injuries to players of the same positions after adding more names to the treatment table.

Leeds have been going through an injury crisis in recent weeks. A particular concern for them has been a lack of options up front. Main man Patrick Bamford has been unavailable since the start of December.

In his absence, Leeds have had to rely on other options like Tyler Roberts and youngster Joe Gelhardt. But both are now also injured themselves.

Roberts suffered a muscle injury in their win over Burnley last weekend. Bielsa talked up the chances of Gelhardt getting a run in his place, but the youngster injured his ankle in training on Thursday.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, with Bamford provisionally on his way back for Sunday’s FA Cup clash with West Ham on Sunday.

But Bielsa said: “As has been happening habitually this season, the players are injuring themselves in the same positions.

“To the injury of Bamford and Rodrigo we add the injuries to Tyler Roberts and Gelhardt who injured his ankle in training yesterday. He’s going to be absent for three weeks. Tyler Roberts will be a similar amount of time.

“Rodrigo, we don’t have a precise date when he might return but Bamford is likely to be able to play the game on Sunday.”

Leeds United transfer plans blown up by injuries

Leeds United have problems in midfield and are being forced to spend money in January to deal with multiple long term injury problems

Gelhardt’s injury comes at an inopportune time, given he has been starting to take strides into the first team. He got a good reception from the fans when he came on for Roberts against Burnley.

Bielsa said of the teenager: “It is very high recognition for what he produces for the team, and for the expectations that the fans have for his game and the possibilities he creates.

“He’s connected in a big way with the fans. That’s a characteristic not many players have.

“He generates hope, expectation and increases the enthusiasm of the fans and there are not many players who can create that.”

New manager bounce or still flatlining? Rating the starts of Rangnick, Conte, Gerrard…

Bielsa repeats clear transfer message

Gelhardt is a big prospect for the long-term. But in the more immediate future, Leeds may need to bring in extra bodies in the transfer window.

They have already added Mateo Joseph Fernandez to their under-23s side this month, but could now look at senior reinforcements.

Bielsa, though, only wants players who will improve upon what they already have.

He said: “I have been asked this question an infinite number of times and I’ve no problem answering it again. The response is always the same.

“If we bring in, in any position, a player who is better than what we have, that player would be welcome.”

However, he said he had no “concrete information” on whether he expected new signings.

READ MOREBielsa leading charge on critical Leeds deal for star who’s been a ‘revelation’