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Leeds United beefed up their academy setup over the summer with the signings of Joe Gelhardt from Wigan and Sam Greenwood from Arsenal, but there is another quick shot that could soon be accelerated in the first team.
The Yorkshire Giants announced today that 19-year-old defender Niall Huggins had signed a new long-term extension, keeping him on Elland Road until at least 2023.
Huggins has been a part of the academy at Thorp Arch for 13 years, progressing through the U18 and U23 squads in recent seasons, and has also drawn attention on the international stage with the Welsh U21 team.
Do you want to see Niall Huggins in the first team this season?
His impressive form in the youth ranks earned the young left-back a senior position on the coach to Everton recently, and although he was not officially named to the team of the day, experience and involvement with some of Leeds’ biggest stars they would have been invaluable.
And it says a lot about what Marcelo Bielsa thinks of the teenage sensation, perhaps whites have found their next Ian Harte.
That left-back spot could soon become a problem for the Argentine, as Gjanni Alioski is more of a winger by trade, while Stuart Dallas is back in central midfield and Barry Douglas is currently on loan to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship. .
The Leeds legend himself has even praised the recent decision, tweeting: “A fantastic experience for Niall Huggins, traveling with Leeds United’s first team for the win at Everton,” according to LeedsLive.
Huggins has also proven to be a touch in front of goal, scoring 12 goals in 29 games at U18 level, which only compounds the comparison with Harte, as he was a specialist in set pieces.
He has also impressed former shooter Paul Robinson, who said MOT Leeds news: “Huggins is a very good player who has performed very well in the U-23 this season. In fact, I’ve seen quite a bit of him. “
It could only be a matter of time before Bielsa gives him a chance, he’s certainly more likely to break through than Gelhardt, who has Patrick Bamford in shape to beat right now.
And in other news, Leeds must attack the beast that “terrorizes the defenders”, it won’t cost Radrizzani a penny …