Celtic lost defender Leo Hjelde to Leeds United this summer, and he made an impact for the Whites in their Under-23 draw with West Ham United.
Leeds’ first team lost 3-0 to Liverpool on Sunday, but there were some positive signs from the Under-23’s.
Leeds were 1-0 up at the break against West Ham as Max Dean headed them in front at Thorp Arch.
West Ham turned the game on its head as Harrison Ashby and Jamal Baptiste scored, but Leeds had a response.
Sam Greenwood’s penalty brought Leeds level, and it finished 2-2 as Leeds continued their Premier League 2 campaign.
Leeds threw new signing Hjelde into the starting XI. The Norwegian joined Leeds late in August, completing a protracted move from Celtic.
Hjelde, 18, has huge potential. In a loan spell at Ross County last season, Hjelde was branded ‘the next Virgil van Dijk’ by boss John Hughes.
Celtic had high hopes for Hjelde, but ended up letting him join Leeds – and he has made an instant impact.
Leeds Under-23 boss Mark Jackson has told Leeds Live that Hjelde’s display was ‘really pleasing’ considering his lack of training.
Jackson added Hjelde is more of a centre back than a left back going forward, adding to that Van Dijk comparison.
“It’s always a challenge for a player to come in and make their debut when he’s not been with us long after signing and going away on international duty. He’s [Hjelde] not trained a lot with us,” said Jackson.
“We know he can play left-back, he played left-back at his loan spell at Ross County but ultimately he’s a centre-back and I think he showed that in the second half. I think his second half performance was really pleasing. He was finding his feet in the first half and found it tough, but he stuck at it so overall it was a good performance from him,” he added.
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