Rising Leeds striker Joe Gelhardt has revealed that he is hoping to get his first taste of Premier League action under Marcelo Bielsa next season.
The 19-year-old became a hot transfer topic last summer after Leeds won the race for his services. Despite him still waiting for his first-team debut for the Whites, he has watched on from the bench several times. In fact, ex-Wigan starlet Gelhardt was one of two exciting young signings last summer, with Sam Greenwood joining from Arsenal.
Gelhardt earned a place on the bench for eight Premier League games.
Aside from that, he scored 11 goals and set up three others in 16 Under-23 matches. As such, he has caught head coach Bielsa’s eye and is hoping to get a shot at Premier League action next season.
Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds, the young Englishman said when asked about how he would get chances: “With hard work hopefully.
“If I keep my head down and be patient and impress the manager, or do well in the sessions, then hopefully.”
Despite his role in the reserve ranks, Gelhardt has enjoyed training with the senior Leeds squad members.
He said of the step up in class from Wigan: “I really enjoyed my first season here.
“It was a tough step up physically, getting used to the fitness and the manager’s playing style.
“I’m a player who likes to play their own game on the pitch, but obviously I’m still young. He [Bielsa] tells me things and I and take a bit and add that to my game.”
Gelhardt has proven himself as either a number 10 or a striker in his first season at Leeds.
However, he admitted that Bielsa still sees him as a finisher.
Gelhardt makes Leeds position claim
“I’m not sure myself, I know the manager see’s me as a nine,” the teenager said.
“At the start of the season I was playing a bit deeper in the ten role, but I’m easy and don’t mind whatever position [I play in].
“But I think the manager sees me as a nine so in training and in the games with the Under-23’s I’ve been playing as a nine but I don’t mind, I like either.”
Leeds are looking to build on a fantastic ninth-placed finish in their first season back in the Premier League since 2004.