Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa was known for his insistence on fielding a squad of no more than 18 to 20 senior players throughout his time in charge of the club.
According to the Argentine, Leeds’ 25-man Premier League squad should consist of a skeletal crew of first-team bodies, with many U23 players bulked up. They were right.
The 2021/22 season saw the likes of Cody Drameh and Crysencio Summerville request loan moves because of Bielsa’s reluctance to play those same young players despite many injuries to important first-team individuals.
Joe Gelhardt was Marcelo Bielsa’s most often used U23 player, appearing in slightly under 400 Premier League minutes during his time there.
Bielsa’s reign saw the Premier League debuts of Leo Hjelde, Crysencio Summerville; Cody Drameh; Charlie Cresswell; Lewis Bate; Sam Greenwood; Liam McCarron; and Stuart McKinstry.
In the final 30 minutes of Leeds’ loss to Leicester City on Saturday, new head coach Jesse Marsch decided to use Joe Gelhardt instead of Tyler Roberts and Patrick Bamford on the bench.
With the former Red Bull Salzburg manager known for his hands-on commitment to developing young players, he chose one of the club’s most promising U23 players as his first substitution in this match.