Ben Parker has claimed that Leeds United prospect Joe Gelhardt is too good for Under-23s football.
Mark Jackson’s Under-23s side are on the brink of a league title this season in the Premier League 2 division, and have had a core group of talented youngsters massively impressing.
The Yorkshire club won 5-0 yesterday against West Brom, as they moved a step closer to the title.
One of their key players this campaign has been 18-year-old Gelhardt.
The teenage centre-forward netted a hat-trick in yesterday’s win over West Brom, which means he’s now got 11 goals in 15 Premier League 2 appearances this season.
He’s yet to make his first-team debut at Elland Road, but has featured on the senior bench in recent Premier League matches and also played in Wigan Athletic’s first team before his transfer to Leeds last summer.
Parker has given a glowing verdict on Gelhardt’s quality.
“He’s just too good for the Under-23s standard. You can see why he’s on the [first-team] bench at the moment, he’s definitely knocking on that door,” Parker told the LS11 podcast.
“He’s a fantastic talent. You look at him and he’s not tall or anything, as a centre-half you think I can bully this guy, but you can’t. His close control is unreal. He’s strong as well, you can knock him off the ball.”
If you have the ability, there is a good chance that Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is going to give you an opportunity regardless of your age.
Unfortunately, Gelhardt plays in the one area of the pitch where the Whites have a nailed-on starter.
Patrick Bamford is the leading frontman at Elland Road, who is going to start whenever he’s fit.
Gelhardt is going to have to be patient, but he’s earning rave reviews for the Under-23s and the fact he’s featuring on the senior bench suggests he may get an opportunity before this season ends.