Stocky, Scouse and blessed with an innate ability to score from anywhere at any time, it felt almost inevitable with Wigan Athletic wonderkid Joe Gelhardt was going to be labelled the 'new Wayne Rooney'.
According to Goal, the likes of Liverpool, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City are all chasing an England youth star who is just starting to force his way into Paul Cook’s first-team plans at the DW Stadium.
Gelhardt came off the bench last week to score his first senior goal against Hull City, spinning away from a bamboozled defender before firing a thunderbolt into the top corner. Memories of a 16-year-old Rooney lobbing a ponytailed David Seaman from all of 30 yards immediately sprang to mind.
And Chris Powell, who represented the likes of Leicester, West Ham and Charlton in a long playing career, has now said what everyone who’s seen Gelhardt in action is thinking.
“He’s Wayne Rooney-esque, Gelhardt,” Powell, who is now a coach for the England national team, told the EFL on Quest (21 September, 9:00pm). “He’s got a lot of talent.
“I know the fans want him in the team but I know Paul Cook will manage him in the correct way and get him in the team eventually.”
Everton fans, for obvious reasons, will be very intrigued by suggestions that the ‘new Rooney’ could be on his way to Goodison Park.
And with sporting director Marcel Brands determined to bring some of the most exciting young talents around to Goodison Park, having discovered household names like Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens and Gini Wijnaldum in Holland, Gelhardt certainly tips a lot of boxes.
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