Leeds United’s Joe Gelhardt on Marcelo Bielsa

21 May 2021

Leeds under-23 sensation Joe Gelhardt on what it's like playing with Patrick Bamford

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Patrick Bamford has taken the Premier League by storm this season, netting 14 goals as Marcelo Bielsa’s rampaging Leeds side won plaudits up and down the country on their first season back in the big time.

And while pundits and fans alike have been wowed by the Leeds frontman, one onlooker has been paying more attention than most.

Joe Gelhardt is one of Leeds’ bright young hopes for the future – having starred in the under 23’s title-winning campaign this season, he now finds himself on the fringes of the first-team.

While Whites fans blow up social media demanding to see the hotly-tipped 18-year-old in action, Gelhardt – who arrived from Wigan last summer – has been keeping his head down and studying his fellow attacker, waiting for his chance.

Joe Gelhardt on the field

“His work rate and his ability to score goals is something to look up to straight away,” Gelhardt says of Bamford.

“It's a motivation for yourself to ask: Could I do that? Could I try and implement some of the stuff that I haven't got in my game that he has?

“If I'm watching a first team game, I'm always watching Pat the most, thinking: where can I improve my game to try and get in the squad a bit more and get a few minutes.”

Patrick Bamford

Those minutes will, of course, be down to Bielsa. The hugely popular boss has sung Gelhardt’s praises this season, saying: “He’s a player that always creates danger in a game. He’s a player who’s more linked with the finalising of chances rather than the creation of them.

“He has resources to beat an opponent and he has a final shot, a finish that is very good.”

Behind the scenes, Bielsa has told the 18-year-old to work on certain parts of his game – with a view to giving him that much-anticipated debut.

“I'm a player who likes to get on the ball, drop low, and try to dribble past a player,” says Gelhardt.

“What the manager's told me is I need to add more in-behind runs to my game – short, sharp, and more sprints.

“I've tried to take that on board as much as I can, and I've tried to implement it. He's a great manager with young players so everything he says you've got to take it on board.”

Joe Gelhardt from Leeds United

And while the young Liverpudlian is still waiting for his big chance, he revealed to Skrill that his all-conquering under-23 side has been learning from the best.

“To come up from the Championship into the Premier League and do what they’ve done is amazing. It's great how well they've done all year, every single one of them.

As a group of 23s, we look up to them as a whole team. It's not a team of individuals, it's a very together team, on and off the pitch. When you look up to the first team, you look at it as a squad rather than individuals.”

It is Bamford, however, providing the most inspiration for the young striker. “If I was to pick one, obviously being in my position, it would be Pat [Bamford],” says Gelhardt.

“Obviously he's had an amazing season scoring so many goals. What people sometimes don't realise is the work rate that he's got as well, how hard he works, how much he runs to get the ball back for the team, so we can go on and attack.”

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