Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde has claimed that the Hoops have given him chances to train with the first-team in recent weeks.
The Norwegian rookie signed for the club in July and went straight into the Celtic Academy. Since then. not much has been heard about him as he went about adapting to life in Glasgow.
The defender arrived at the club from Rosenborg, and arrives with the view of following in the footsteps of the likes of Kristoffer Ajer and Stefan Johansen.
But as he spoke to the Celtic View this week (Volume 55, Issue 14, Page 35), he revealed that Neil Lennon has already pulled him up to train with the first-team.
“I’ve trained a bit with the first-team squad. The first time was a couple of weeks ago and it was very nice. I got a text the day before saying I needed to be in for training with the first team.
“That was cool. They were all friendly, but I don’t think they knew who I was at first. I expected that, though, so that’s alright.
“I’m still 16 so I know I will probably have to be patient and wait for my opportunities. There’s a lot to learn from the players here, though, so I will be busy. I’m not stressing about how quickly this happens, but, obviously, I would like to train with the first-team as much as I can.”
Leo Hjelde appears to have realism on his mind
It can be easy for youngsters to get a little carried away with their first-team call-ups. Hjelde most certainly can’t be considered a top-team member, and he’s aware of that. However, getting chances to learn off of the players already at Lennoxtown is a huge boost for him.
Helde also revealed in the Celtic View that he was spotted by Hoops scouts whilst participating for Rosenborg in a tournament down in England. It was certainly a surprisingly swift deal, as the announcement a couple of months ago came out of nowhere.
Hjelde is naturally a left-sided centre-back. The man currently occupying that position just now is his fellow countryman Ajer. Therefore, it shows the levels that he’ll have to get to in order to put up a fight for the position.
Neil Lennon has proved to youngsters in the past that if you’re good enough then you’re old enough. Karamoko Dembele made his Celtic debut at 16. The opportunities are there for those select few who have the talent.
But that likely won’t be on Hjelde’s mind for now. Just being in with the first-team and training with the talented squad we have at Parkhead will be a dream come true for him.
Hopefully, in the coming years, we start to hear plenty more about him as we did with Ajer.