‘I never really got an exact answer’ – Sunderland ace opens up on ‘frustrating’ Leeds United exit

Sunderland defender Niall Huggins has said the lack of clarity over his Leeds United exit was ‘a bit frustrating’.

Sunderland signed Welsh defender Huggins over two years ago now, recruiting him from Leeds United in the summer of 2021. He’s endured an injury-hit time on Wearside but has become a regular starter for Tony Mowbray this season.

Operating as a left-back or right-back, Huggins has played 14 times across all competitions, chipping in with a goal and an assist in the process.

It’s been uplifting to see the 22-year-old playing regularly for Sunderland after such a challenging couple of years. He’s been performing well too, proving himself as a valuable asset to Mowbray’s Championship side.

Now, after earning a maiden call-up to Wales’ national side, Huggins has opened up on the frustration of his Leeds United exit two years ago. As quoted by Welsh site Clwb Pel-Droed, the full-back said:

“I thought I was doing really well. I made my debut in the December, which was the best day of my life – playing for my boyhood club. I did well, and I was on the bench quite a lot until the end of the season.

“But you never know in football. The manager at the time [Bielsa] liked me, but then I had a call telling me I probably wasn’t going to be involved the next season and I never really got an exact answer why.

“It was a bit frustrating.”

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Looking to the future

The frequent injury problems likely won’t have helped Huggins in his efforts to leave the Leeds United disappointment behind. But, now a regular for Sunderland and in the Wales squad, the York-born ace looks primed and ready to kick on at the Stadium of Light.

He was a bright talent at Elland Road, so there was an element of surprise when he moved on from the Whites. Huggins is at a club renowned for developing players though, so he’s in the right environment to keep progressing.

Wales have two EURO qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey over the break, so Huggins will be looking to announce himself on the international stage after becoming a frequent Sunderland starter. He’s helped the Black Cats to 6th in the Championship table.

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