Leeds starlet Joe Gelhardt matches James Milner in club history books
Gelhardt announces himself in Yorkshire
Leeds United starlet Joe Gelhardt put his name up in lights in Yorkshire today despite the last-gasp 3-2 loss against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after netting his first Premier League goal for Marcelo Bielsa’s troops.
Still just 19-years-old, Gelhardt made his fourth appearance in the Premier League today in an eight-minute cameo off the bench when he replaced influential winger Raphinha in the 82nd-minute, and he wasted no time clawing Leeds back into the fight when he bagged an equalizer one minute later with his first touch in the match.
2004 – Joe Gelhardt is the first teenager to score a Premier League goal for @LUFC since James Milner against Everton in April 2004. Gelhardt scored with his very first touch of the game. Golden.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
His goal meant that he is the first Leeds United teen to score in the top flight of English football since James Milner managed the same feat back in April of 2004 when he was making a name for himself at Elland Road.
Though the goal was not enough for Leeds to steal a point at Stamford Bridge against title contender Chelsea, it went a long way to prove that Leeds could well be in good hands in the number 9 role for the foreseeable future.
Leeds starlet tipped for big things
“He’s like a human wrecking ball. I like him, he’s really exciting. He’s fast, he’s aggressive, he gets on the ball, he takes people on. Once he gets into the box, he loves it. That’s where he can do most of his damage.” – Marcelo Bielsa via Sky Sports
No one was surprised that Joe Gelhardt has already opened his Premier League account after just four appearances for Leeds, certainly not boss Marcelo Bielsa who has already spoken highly of the Liverpool-born 19-year-old starlet.
Gelhardt has fought his way through the ranks starting with Wigan’s academy set-up before arriving at Leeds and kicking into another gear, scoring 18-goals and adding 6-assists in 27-appearances for Leeds’ U23 side.
His maturation comes at the right time as well given the fitness issues that have cropped up with headline number 9 Patrick Bamford who has missed the bulk of the 2021-22 campaign with an ankle injury while now being sidelined again with a hamstring issue.
A forward who fits both the physical and tactical profile that Bielsa demands, Gelhardt could be rewarded with more minutes – and even a handful of starts – should Bamford continue to struggle to regain fitness while other forward options sans Raphinha have failed to remain a consistent goal threat this term.