Niall Huggins has shared his experience playing at The Emirates on his Leeds United debut as well as what Marcelo Bielsa said to him beforehand.

The full-back got 37 minutes to shine at Arsenal in February and helped the Whites win the second half of that match, though it did end in a 4-2 defeat.

Huggins told BBC Wales that it was the best day of his life and the youngster could not believe he came up against Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang after featuring for the under-23s all season.

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Huggins shared what Bielsa said to him before bringing him on and when asked if he found himself looking around the pitch in awe, Huggins said, “I did to be honest – I’m not going to lie.

“The score wasn’t going our way. He [Bielsa] just called me over and said, ‘Are you ready?’

“I was kind of in shock. I didn’t have time to get nervous at that point, it happened so fast.

“I’m used to watching Match of the Day and the Premier League at the weekend and then I’ve got [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang running at me – he’s played across the world and is a top-class player.

“It was a bit surreal but you just have to focus on your own game and make sure you’re doing what the plan is for the team to try and make sure you can make a difference.”

Bright future

Huggins did not expect to make his debut last month but he handled himself brilliantly on such a big stage.

To display the composure he did in those circumstances was quite remarkable and indicates he has a big future ahead of him.

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He is clearly a level-headed player and full of confidence – he did not let the occasion or coming up against big-name players get to him.

In fact, he looked at home in the Leeds backline and gave a great showing of what he is all about.

Huggins has since been called up for the Wales U21 squad, too, and that shows he is highly rated outside of Leeds.

Like many U23s he has been in good form this season and greater exposure to the first-team is only likely to improve him as a player on and off the pitch.

Playing alongside Liam Cooper at The Emirates would have given him at insight into real leadership, and hopefully he looks to emulate that.

With the season almost over from a relegation point of view it will be interesting to see if Bielsa gives Huggins and other young players more minutes.

That is something we want to see as Huggins certainly seems ready to take that chance if it comes.

In other Leeds United news, three Whites players have praised Kalvin Phillips in response to England Instagram post.


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