Joe Gelhardt and Patrick Bamford could play together, Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa reveals

Rather than replacing him, Patrick Bamford could join his talented 19-year-old stand-in Joe Gelhardt on the attack for Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa says, as the England international approaches match-fitness after ten weeks on the sidelines.

By Flora Snelson
Friday, 26th November 2021, 2:58 pm

The 28-year-old’s injury rumbled on for much longer than first anticipated after Bamford picked up what seemed to be a minor ankle issue at St James’ Park back in September.

The striker has since missed seven Premier League games after registering four goal contributions across his first six appearances of the season.

Read More

Read More
Patrick Bamford reveals advice to further improve 'unbelievable' Leeds United yo...

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

Now Bamford's stint on the sidelines has offered Gelhardt a gilt-edged opportunity, much sought-after by ambitious young players, which the 19-year-old has done anything but pass up.

Following a bit-part senior debut against Southampton, Gelhardt was given the chance to shine at Elland Road when Bielsa brought the youngster on with 30 minutes to go as Leeds trailed 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Gelhardt’s impact was immediate, and the attacker’s threatening runs eventually won the Whites the penalty which salvaged a point in what felt like a pivotal moment in Leeds’ season.

Last weekend, Gelhardt impressed again on his first start in the Whites’ 2-1 defeat at Spurs, before Bielsa’s mid-week revelation that Bamford is close to finishing his recovery raised the question of whether or not the youngster will retain his place when competing with a more senior player who shares his natural position.

Sergio Reguilon challenges Joe Gelhardt in Leeds United's 2-1 defeat to Spurs. Pic: Ryan Pierse

"The unwritten law within the professional game is that those who are in the best condition are those who play,” Bielsa explained to Sky Sports.

"I evaluate this ahead of every game, and this would be applied to Joe irrespective of the injuries we have had this season.”

As Bamford inches closer to his return, Bielsa put paid to fans’ speculation about who he will favour, revealing that he won’t apply a one-size-fits all approach to the dilemma.

“It depends on the opposition and the moment within a given game, but it's certainly something I have considered already,” he said. “It'll be interesting to see how well they can combine.”

Patrick Bamford has been out of action since Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in September. Pic: Ian MacNicol

"It may be that when Patrick is fit, I can play both together as they are different or it may be that I select just one of them at any given time.”

The Whites boss also shared that the young player is learning plenty from Bamford, who was one of the first signings made under Bielsa after the Argentine arrived at the club in the summer of 2018.

“Patrick should be viewed as a reference point for Joe, as he is someone who can lend him plenty of experience in the role he is playing for the team,” Bielsa said.

“He is consulting him of course as a more senior member of the group."

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Shaun Botterill

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.