How Lionel Messi, Torres and ice in goal made Joe Gelhardt the Leeds hero

Leeds striker Gelhardt, 19, has been compared to Wayne Rooney and draws inspiration from a number of sources including Lionel Messi to make the note at Elland Road

Joe Gelhardt has made his breakthrough for Leeds

Joe Gelhardt became leeds latest top scorer with his dramatic stoppage-time winner against Norwich.

Gelhardt has also charged against it Chelsea at Stamford Bridge im First League and Leeds fans love his confident, direct style. The teenage striker has been compared to him Wayne Rooney because of his physique and the fact he comes from Liverpoolbut he says he’s modeled himself on a legendary forward from across Stanley Park.

Gelhardt, 19, grew up with Liverpool and says Fernando Torres was his big hero. He had his name on the back of his Liverpool shirt and he adored the Spanish killer. Watching him play for the amazing side of Rafa Benitez that came so close to winning the Premier League in 2009, he says he tried to copy his style of play.

Gelhardt also studied Lionel Messi when he was younger and still marvels at clips of the Argentine star on YouTube. “Growing up I was a huge Liverpool fan so Fernando Torres was the only player for me,” he said.

“When he was there, I loved him. I had his name on the back of my shirts and he was my favorite player so I tried to copy some of his moves. Then of course there is Lionel Messi.

“He’s probably most people’s favourite. Even now I can still jump onto YouTube and watch 20 minute videos of him sitting there and seeing how good he was.

Joe Gelhardt loved watching Fernando Torres play for Liverpool



Gelhardt came through the ranks at Wigan before Leeds signed him in August 2020 and says he actually started out as a goalkeeper. He claims there were advantages to playing in goal because his father would hand him an ice cream or a drink while his team attacked and attacked on the other end.

“It was great because my dad would always stay behind my goal with an ice cream or a can of pop and when our team attacked on the pitch I would just eat my ice cream,” he said. “When we lost the ball, I had to quickly give it back to my father so we could defend it.

“Maybe that’s why I enjoyed football from an early age! Then one day I played in the outfield and scored a hat-trick, so they kept me away from goal after that.

Leeds striker Joe Gelhardt started out as a goalkeeper


action pics via Reuters)

Gelhardt, who was first called up for England Under-21s in October, enjoys working with Jesse Marsch and says the players have been blown away by him. Marsch has brought a revival at Elland Road since replacing Marcelo Bielsa at the end of February and Leeds have taken seven points from their last three games to climb towards safety.

Marsch is far more hands-on than Bielsa, and Gelhardt says players love his man-management style. He also says they quickly got used to his different tactics and he prefers to press at certain times rather than marking man to man like Bielsa did.

“It was great,” said the striker. “He’s a great manager. His tactics and the way he comes up with his ideas, you can sit there and just think “wow!”, especially when you then go to the training ground and put it all together.

“We were man-to-man before so the transition was difficult at first, but we did sessions and practice aimed at getting out of that and learning his game. It’s great since he’s come on board and all the guys are on board with his ideas.”

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