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Niall Huggins

Sunderland

Making your Premier League debut at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and with your team 4-0 down would faze many players – but not Niall Huggins.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa felt the 20-year-old could do a job for the team and Huggins rose to the challenge, coming on as a 54th-minute sub to help the Yorkshire side pull things back to 4-2 and more than do himself justice with a confident display in daunting surroundings.

His versatility shone through too, slotting in at right-back, left-back and as a central midfielder before the final whistle blew.

But it’s that versatility – he started his career as a forward before switching to left-back – which is just one of the many attributes which have earned him Wales U21 recognition and seen him tipped for a bright future.

York-born Huggins shone at junior level and, along with fellow York schoolboy Jack Clarke, signed a two-year scholarship with Leeds in May 2017.

A year-long professional contract followed in May 2019 and, with Leeds confident they had a rising star on their hands, he was signed up until the end of the 2022-23 season.

He’ll also be hoping for more international call-ups, having made his debut on June 9 2019 for Wales U21s – he qualifies through his father – in a 2-1 friendly defeat to Albania.

Certainly his club and country displays have impressed so far, with Reach plc Leeds United reporter Joe Donnohue observing: “The early signs are that Leeds have got a real gem.”

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