Former Celtic youth player makes debut for English Premier League side

By John McGinley

January 9, 2022

Former Celtic youth player Leo Hjelde has made his debut for Leeds United this afternoon, in a FA Cup clash against West Ham United.

Hjelde signed for Celtic at the age of just 15 but did not end up making a senior debut for the club.

The defender spent time on loan at Ross County under John Hughes, impressing, but had already decided his future lay away from Celtic Park before getting any minutes in the first-team.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Now 18, he’s already getting minutes under Marcelo Bielsa after signing last summer, albeit in a deliberately weakened starting eleven.

Hjelde featured for 78 minutes of their 2-0 defeat to the Hammers, played out live on ITV, before being substituted. Leeds fans delivered a positive verdict on his performance, going by social media.

The Norwegian youth international is by no means about to take the Premier League by storm this season, but it is notable that he is already making advances into their senior team. It’s a sign of his potential.

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He has also featured as an unused substitute in a number of top-flight matches this term, but has predominately been used in their U23 side.

Celtic were in a difficult position with the youngster last year. They couldn’t really guarantee him game time in the starting eleven despite his Ross County spell.

In that context, a pathway through a Premier League side is often going to look more appealing to a young player with no real attachment to the club.

Ultimately it looks like Leeds have a plan to get him into their first-team squad on a consistent basis. The very best of luck to him!

In other news, “I’m heading back in to Celtic on Monday”; Loanee making Bhoys return, future still in doubt.