Ben Parker told LUTV that Joe Gelhardt was the best player on the pitch as Leeds United’s under-23s beat Newcastle on Monday.
Mark Jackson’s men have continued their march towards the title with a hugely impressive win against the Magpies at Thorp Arch.
Gelhardt broke the deadlock from the penalty spot before Charlie Cresswell headed home what proved to be the winner.
Leeds had to battle their way across the line against the visitors. But a number of their players stood out with some outstanding performances.
Robin Koch’s display provided few indications that the summer signing has been out for more than three months, while Gaetano Berardi also got another 45 minutes under his belt.
But Gelhardt was, once again, able to produce a stunning display. He led the line brilliantly and arguably looked like one of the first-team players dropping down to get minutes under his belt.
And Parker suggested as the full-time whistle loomed that the 18-year-old was striding towards his man of the match award.
“Joe Gelhardt’s been the standout,” he told LUTV. “Head and shoulders the best player for me today. Just everything about his game: the way he gets involved, the little touches.
“But then, he’s not afraid to mix it up physically because look at the size of him, in terms of stature: he’s not very tall, he’s not very big, but the strength. He just loves playing football. You can tell he just loves his game at the moment. He’s been a massive positive.”
Gelhardt certainly appears to be edging closer and closer to a first-team debut. The teenager has been named in a number of Marcelo Bielsa’s match day squads in recent weeks.
He is yet to get on the pitch. But performances like the one he produced on Monday will do nothing to harm his chances.
Leeds are facing a nervous wait to see how bad Patrick Bamford’s injury is. Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts are there to provide cover if Bamford is sidelined for a period.
But based on his recent form, Gelhardt will not be far behind the pair either.