Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa must unleash Niall Huggins in the Premier League next season after a major update from Graham Smyth.
Niall Huggins made his first team debut for the Whites when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League last season, while he has been a consistent performer for the under-23s.
The 20-year-old played 17 times in Premier League 2 Division 2, scoring twice and assisting once, helping the Whites’ youngsters clinch the title and promotion.
Now, The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Smyth has revealed that Huggins does not want to leave Bielsa’s side on loan for next season, and wants to stay at Elland Road to try and fight for a first-team place.
He said: “A number of the 23s, inspired by what Pascal Struijk did quite unexpectedly last season in seizing a first team opportunity and accruing a huge number of Premier League minutes, have set their hearts on staying put to try and do the same. Niall Huggins is among those preferring to stay put than head out on loan.”
After a particularly impressive display earlier in the season for the under-23s, Leeds Live‘s Joe Donnuhue raved about about the starlet, even suggesting that he could be set for some first team football sooner rather than later.
He wrote: “In the second half, Huggins tucked back in to left-back as Leif Davis was withdrawn at the break. His effort levels were a class above, as he is almost every week. If he continues in this vein, he will not be far off more regular first-team squad involvement.”
England international Kalvin Phillips – who is currently at EURO 2020 – is also a big fan of the 20-year-old, saying just last summer: “We’ve got a few younger lads called Niall Huggins and Alfie McCalmont. They’re really good young players as well. They’ll be in the team in the next year or so, definitely.”
Dubbed as someone with “pace to burn“, the 5 foot 8 flier clearly knows what it will take to make his mark in the Premier League with Leeds under Bielsa, and he just needs an opportunity to impress.
Given the transfer links to left-backs like Romain Perraud and Javi Galan in recent weeks and months, perhaps Leeds could save millions this summer in the market by actually unleashing one of their own in Huggins next season.