Leeds United: Pascal Struijk full of praise for Whites rookie Joe Gelhardt

Pascal Struijk praised the talent of Joe Gelhardt after the Leeds United youngster created “the most important goal I have scored”, but the 20-year-old’s stamina has been important for them too.

Gelhardt produced some outrageous skill to create Struijk’s stoppage-time equaliser against Brighton and Hove Albion, chipping the ball over Lewis Dunk’s leg before crossing for his team-mate to head in. “This is the most important goal I have scored and I’m really happy to get the point at the end because it’s really important for us to take all the points we need and that we can,” said Struijk. “To be fair I haven’t really seen it but I know he (Gelhardt) chipped it over the defender.

“He’s really good, really talented on the ball and to find me at the back stick was really good.”

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Both Gelhardt’s Premier League goals have come late, in the 83rd minute at Chelsea and in added time against Norwich City. The first was an equaliser in what ultimately was a 3-2 defeat, the second a winning goal.

Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt. Picture: Tony Johnson.Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Leeds United youngster Joe Gelhardt. Picture: Tony Johnson.

His other assist, for Dan James at Burnley, also came in time added on. Unlike in those games, on Sunday he played the whole match.

Marsch was critical of Gelhardt’s performance in his last start – harshly, it felt – which was cut short after half an hour because of Luke Ayling’s red card at Arsenal.

“Joffy grew into the game, we need him and it’s great to see him give a confident performance,” he said of Sunday’s performance.

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In all, Leeds have scored seven stoppage-time goals this season.

Keeping going to the end against Brighton was as much a test of mentality as fitness. Out-thought and out-played for much of the first half, Leeds dominated after that without finding an equaliser and with time running out saw frustrations seep out on the terraces.

“It was frustrating because I think in the second half as well we created a lot of chances,” said Struijk.

“We were unlucky not to get a goal earlier and then we were in a race to get time to get one back. Luckily we did.”

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Leeds are a point above the Premier League relegation zone and one behind Everton. They and Burnley each have a game in hand before the final weekend of the season, which takes the Whites to Brentford.

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