Bielsa names youngster close to Leeds first-team; has Hodgson message

Joe Gelhardt

Marcelo Bielsa has refused to rule out the prospect of teenager striker Joe Gelhardt earning a first senior Leeds call-up for Saturday’s trip to face Crystal Palace.

United go into the game looking to bounce back from Monday’s sobering 4-1 home defeat to Leicester.

The Whites had the chance to go third, but ultimately fell short as the Foxes stormed to the win.

Leeds missed record signing Rodrigo Moreno after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Going into the game, Bielsa has spoken about his wish to ‘bring some joy’ to supporters as the country begins its second national lockdown.

Rodrigo’s absence could open the door for Gelhardt – a £1m signing from Wigan this summer – to take his place in the matchday squad.

Compared by some observers to Wayne Rooney, the 18-year-old has been earning his stripes for their U23s side.

Asked if he could be an inclusion in south-east London, Bielsa was given little away.



“Yes, he is a player that is progressing. The evolution of the whole U23s team, we follow it closely.

“We analyse every performance of the U23s as if it were the first team. Because normally we train with 22 players and when we are missing any of those we sub them with the U23s.

“I think that around 50% of the U23s players can apply for a place on our team.”


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Bielsa sends message to Roy Hodgson

Leeds lock horns with the Eagles, who are managed by the Premier League’s senior statesman in Roy Hodgson.

Asked for his thoughts on the Palace boss, Bielsa admitted he had nothing but respect for all he had achieved.

“I sincerely respect him a lot,” Bielsa said.

“I’m not the best person to have an opinion as I have only been here two years. But I have the opinion that he’s a very valued member in the English community.”

Asked about what Leeds need to be wary of, Bielsa said he knew all about Palace’s strengths.

“They are a team that has four very important players in attack. They are a team who has a stable base,” he commented.

“Palace have a distinct style of play which they don’t change. They improve and like the majority of the teams in the division they have had some good and some not very good moments. They have experience.”


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