'The manager pulled me for a chat' - Joe Gelhardt on his Leeds United position under Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt is happy to leave any decision over whether his future lies at centre forward or as number 10 in the hands of Marcelo Bielsa.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 5:50 pm
SETTLED IN - Joe Gelhardt has had a year at Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa, playing as a centre-forward and a number 10. Pic: Getty
SETTLED IN - Joe Gelhardt has had a year at Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa, playing as a centre-forward and a number 10. Pic: Getty

The 19-year-old split his time between the two positions last season in Mark Jackson's Under 23s, often swapping roles with close friend and strike partner Sam Greenwood as they combined for 23 Premier League 2 goals en route to a league title and promotion.

Having his fellow England youth international, with whom he had already struck up a friendship before they arrived at Thorp Arch last summer, helped the former Wigan prospect to settle in as a Leeds player.

"I think we've got a good relationship on and off the field, he's one of my good mates, I've known him a few years from the England set-up so when I found out he was joining I was made up," said Gelhardt.

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"It's hard meeting new faces but he was there and he made me feel comfortable. On the pitch we know each other inside out so that helps."

While Leeds took a look at Greenwood as a lone striker, second striker and attacking midfielder, Gelhardt operated predominantly as a centre-forward or tucked in behind the striker.

He admits he's not sure how to describe himself, but Bielsa classes him as a striker.

Wherever he's asked to play as Leeds United's Under 23s take to the Premier League 2 top flight, against the best young sides in the country, Gelhardt is happy to do a job.

"I'm not sure myself," he said.

"The manager pulled me for a chat and he sees me as a nine. At the start of the season I was playing a bit deeper in the 10 role but I'm easy, I don't mind whatever position. I think he sees me as a nine so in training and in the games recently with the 23s I've been playing there. I like either."