Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde makes scoring impact for Norway U18s
Do you remember the fuss about Norway youngster Leo Hjelde earlier this season?
It seems an age ago now, but only in April, Hjelde was talking about playing in Celtic’s first team, while being compared to Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk [Daily Record]. That was by John Hughes, who may be seeing more of the Norway youth international next season.
Called up for Norway’s Under 18s, though, Hjelde has just now made an impact for his national team. Right before half-time, against a strong Portugal side, the defender put his team up 1-0 [Flashscore].
Sensationally, he’s also dyed his hair blonde, in tribute to either early 00s Eminem, or the Romania squad of 1998.
LEO FUHR HJELDE SCORES! ⚽️
Norway takes the lead vs Portugal. Fully deserved. pic.twitter.com/nUrAXGbDAl
— 🇳🇴 Football (@NORftbl) June 8, 2021
Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde doing the business for Norway
As we’ve said before, don’t be entirely surprised to see Leo Hjelde feature for Celtic next season. While another campaign on loan might serve the Norwegian well, the Bhoys simply don’t have the numbers to not consider him. Another European qualifying campaign shunting Nir Bitton into centre-back is surely not the ideal scenario for anyone concerned.
Having played so impressively at Ross County, we’re aware that isn’t the same as being a Celtic regular but it’s a solid foundation. Stephen Welsh, and this isn’t a criticism, had a far less eventful spell on loan at Morton. However, by this point, it’d be weird to not see the Scottish youngster involved regularly in 21-22.
So, getting on the scoresheet only builds his case. However, there are defensive concerns; Portugal came back to win the tie 2-1, with goals from substitutes Gomes and Bica.
Still, it’s a more than decent afternoon’s work for the Celtic youngster. With Kristoffer Ajer set to leave, and Shane Duffy’s loan spell ending early, there’s space in the defence for a confident, ball-playing centre-back. Hjelde can also deputise on the left of a defence, providing useful versatility.
We’ve had plenty of hyped-up youngsters in the past who’ve made little impact in the Green and White. However, this feels a little different.
Here’s hoping Hjelde can add to his already blossoming CV.