Tyler Roberts must step up or step aside after Bielsa decision
Leeds United fans finally got the debut they have craved for some time on Tuesday as Marcelo Bielsa threw Joe Gelhardt on during their Carabao Cup tie with Fulham.
What’s the story?
Gelhardt was unable to make much of an impact during the remaining stages of the 90 minutes. In fact, Whoscored shows that he only had three touches.
But he certainly made his mark on the game. The 19-year-old unleashed a stunning penalty into the roof of the net as Leeds went on to win the shootout 6-5.
Gelhardt’s position in the pecking order right now will largely depend on how serious the injury suffered by Patrick Bamford is.
But Bielsa has obviously provided the clearest indication yet that the teenager is in his plans.
And with that, the pressure has arguably ramped up on the likes of Tyler Roberts and Rodrigo.
Neither player has made the best start to the campaign. But Rodrigo has been much better in the last two games.
Roberts meanwhile, has shown glimpses. But the Wales international is seemingly behind Rodrigo, and he is yet to really prove that he is good enough to make a consistent impact in the Premier League.
It must not be forgotten that the forward is 22 years of age. And there have been times he has looked superb. He was arguably Leeds’ best player in the stalemate against Chelsea last season.
But perhaps, that is part of the problem. Recounting all of his best displays is a fairly simple task, because he has not yet taken his game to that next level.
And with that, Gelhardt’s debut could represent a pivotal moment in Roberts’s spell at Leeds.
Gelhardt debut could be pivotal moment in Roberts’ Leeds career
It remains to be seen how Gelhardt fares in the first-team over the coming months. But the fans are extremely hopeful.
The time has perhaps come therefore, for Roberts to either step up or be ready to step aside.
Gelhardt still has work to do. But with the 2020 signing waiting in the wings, Bielsa will surely find it harder to justify persisting with Roberts if he does not soon become the game-changer he has only threatened to be so far.