RR: So then, Joe Gelhardt - is he any good?
Through It All Together: Gelhardt is very highly thought of, both by the club and the fans. His talent at the Premier League 2 level is undeniable - he’s way too good for that level. At the senior level, Gelhardt has had limited opportunities beyond being an impact sub, usually thrown onto the pitch late on to try salvage the game.
When it comes to his game, he’s got a great striker’s instinct, is a good finisher, and is strong on the ball. He carries himself with a lot of confidence, but he’s still a raw talent who’s a bit rough around the edges.
RR: What do you think about the decision to send him to Sunderland? It’s widely known that he had the pick of a number of offers from Championship clubs but it was our club he decided to come to... what do you think the thinking behind that has been?
Through It All Together: It seemed like he fancied a return to Wigan, but it’s anyone’s guess if it was him, the club, or both who opted for Sunderland. Regardless, it’s a huge club in a play-off race. The stadium is fantastic, and the fans demand passion, energy and hard work from their players. It’s worth Gelhardt getting used to playing regularly with that kind of pressure to perform, something he probably hasn’t experienced in full yet.
RR: Do you think long-term that Joe has a future with Leeds? Where do you see him fitting into things in the next year or two?
Through It All Together: Tricky question, this… we’ve got a lot of attackers in the team, but with Rodrigo aging and Bamford struggling for fitness, Gelhardt has the chance to prove himself as capable of leading the line.
Rutter has been brought in this month as our record signing, whose preferred position is through the middle. Gelhardt will want to hit the ground running so he can come back in the summer and look to push Rutter out wide.
I think I speak for every Leeds fan when I say that I hope he reaches his full potential and can lead the line for us at the top level… easier said than done, both for us and for Gelhardt.
RR: Let’s talk a little more about him as a player... what sort of striker is he?
Through It All Together: He’s been compared to a young Wayne Rooney previously… that probably is the best answer to this question! He’s someone who likes to get in about defenders - pressure them, antagonise them, and punish them.
You’ll find him taking up all sorts of positions, and he’ll usually be charging at defenders. Certainly a player that gets fans on their feet at his best.
RR: What would you say his biggest strengths are as a player?
Through It All Together: His confidence. He just keeps pushing and pushing, he has a superb attitude that compliments his talents and key strengths as an athlete - physically very good, combined with twinkle toes and a vicious strike, he’s got the makings of a very dangerous frontman.
RR: And what about weaknesses - what area of his game needs the most work?
Through It All Together: It’s difficult to say, as his confidence also leads him to be somewhat selfish (which in itself is usually considered as a positive for a striker).
But if it’s not going well, it can get frustrating. He likes to charge at defences head-first, and sometimes he just can break defences that way. But then he becomes like any striker, his teammates need to create for him, and he’ll be ready when the chance comes.
RR: How do you get the best out of Joe Gelhardt?
Through It All Together: Get him the ball in and around the penalty area - simple as that.
He can score from a multitude of situations and positions, it’s just about getting him the ball. He’s going to get involved with the midfield and how Sunderland build-up from the middle into the final third, so freedom of movement is crucial.
In the end, he’ll want to end up in the six-yard box.
RR: What would you say to any Sunderland fans who aren’t really sure about this deal or that don’t really know too much about him?
Through It All Together: I just hope they get to see plenty of him. I wouldn’t blame any team for being unsure of the situation. January loans for young Premier League stars can make or break the path of a career. I would imagine Sunderland fans will see his heart on the pitch and really get behind him, and hopefully he’ll hit the ground running.