Celtic's Norweigan 17-year-old hailed as the new Virgil van Dijk

Celtic's Norweigan 17-year-old hailed as the new Virgil van Dijk

In July of 2013 Celtic bought Virgil van Dijk from FC Groningen for less than €3,000,000 before he moved on to Southampton for more than five times that. Before having his next transfer also quintupled for reinforcing Liverpool and being the world's most expensive defender for a brief time. So when a teenage player gets compared to him by his coaches it's time to take notice.

That's why the eyes of the British Isles are on the 17-year-old Norweigan Leo Hjelde. Celtic brought the kid in from Rosenborg in 2019 and gave him his first loan into professional football at Ross County. The Scottish club's manager John Hughes is the one who gave high praise to the teenager.

"Leo is going to be the next Van Dijk - trust me on that, trust me. The quality he has shown, the physical challenge, playing real men's football and standing up to it - it's been a wonderful experience for Leo," said the former Celtic player.

Hjelde played in only nine games for Ross County - scoring one goal - because he got hit with the corona virus but it was enough for the former central defender to see the youngster will have a career to remember.

"I 100% believe he will reach the Premier League. He has got a lot to learn but for being a young kid, to come on loan during Covid in this climate, what he’s produced has been absolutely fantastic."

The 188 centimetres player is probably not done growing and yet the PL teams are already interested as Hughes revealed.

"Before he came, Leeds United were after him. I think he had to sign an extension to his contract for the loan to go through."

Celtic already has a highly-touted Norweigan defender in Kristoffer Ajer who is nearly two meters tall and on the radar of the biggest clubs for a long time now.


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