Pundit and former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood after their performances at Brentford saw the Whites secure safety.
The Lowdown: Youth prevails
Gelhardt and Greenwood both started in Leeds’ must-win game away at Brentford, despite both being just 20 years old.
The Whites have been plagued with injuries throughout the entire season, and Whelan commended Gelhardt and Greenwood’s maturity and willingness to step up to the plate when called upon.
A battling display saw Leeds come out 2-1 winners, with Harrison scoring in injury time to secure survival. Gelhardt and Greenwood only had 10 league starts between them, so it shows the faith Marsch had in them to start the inexperienced duo.
The Latest: Whelan full of praise
Talking to Football Insider, Whelan stated “it was a massive pair of performances”.
“It is one of their biggest accomplishments. Forget getting promoted to the Premier League, this was a much greater challenge,” he added.
“It was such an extremely difficult circumstance.
“These two young men, Gelhardt and Greenwood – this will do them the world of good. Being thrown in at the deep end like that – you can’t get experience and confidence like that any other way. They were incredible.
“They understood the pressure and handled themselves impeccably on the pitch during the run-in, and they’ve got their just rewards. I believe they can now play a real part next season.”
The Verdict: Plenty of promise
The maturity and poise both youngsters showed in the biggest game of their careers outlines that there is a real platform for Marsch to build his squad on.
Gelhardt had already impressed this season, with six goal contributions in his 20 league appearances, including a fine goal at Stamford bridge. He has been labelled “astonishing” by Adrian Durham (via MOT Leeds News), whilst Marsch himself claimed that “nobody has adapted better to his tactics than Sam Greenwood”.
Naturally, Marsch and Orta will have plenty of ideas for who they’ll want to bring in and who will be on their way out. What is for sure is that Gelhardt and Greenwood’s performances will have given their boss a selection headache for next season as they look to solidify more first-team football.
In other news, a Premier League player has been tipped to join Leeds. Find out who here.