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Ian Harte says Leeds Under-23 star was part of squad that travelled to Everton on Sunday - and it is well deserved

Leeds United earned a 1-0 win against Everton on Saturday afternoon with Thorp Arch academy product Kalvin Phillips, and young stars Illan Meslier, Leif Davis, Ian Poveda, Tyler Roberts and Pascal Struijk all a part of the 18-man squad. But Ian Harte’s Twitter revelation will have supporters excited about a new up-and-coming Leeds talent.

Marcelo Bielsa has become renowned at Elland Road for bringing through young talent. The likes of Jamie Shackleton, Robbie Gotts, Alfie McCalmont, Davis, Struijk, Poveda and plenty of others young stars have become househould names among Leeds supporters – purely because of their constant involvement with the senior side.

Under Mark Jackson, plenty of new talent is coming through. Summer signings Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood and Cody Drameh are all impressing in the under-23 side – while Jack Jenkins, Stuart McKinstry, Charlie Cresswell and Olly Casey have been shining in the second string for a while.

But Leeds icon Harte – who is now an agent to many Leeds players and a pundit – confirmed to Whites fans that 19-year-old Wales youth international Niall Huggins was one of the players that travelled to Goodison but was on standby if one of the 18 become suddenly unavailable. Harte confirmed as much on Twitter.

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Originally a striker, Huggins has since been used on the wing and even at left-back by Jackson. That clear versatility is something Bielsa loves – with the Argentine gaffer renowned for preferring a smaller squad that includes players who can be used in multiple positions, rather than lots of players who are only good for one place in the team.

Huggins can offer cover in defence, midfield and even in attack. Reports have emerged this season of the teenager being promoted to Bielsa’s senior side – having impressed in his six Premier League 2 appearances. With the likes of Gotts, McCalmont, Bryce Hosannah, Jordan Stevens and plenty more out on loan, Huggins seems to be the next exciting talent to be sniffing around the first team.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
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