What do you make of the news that Niall Huggins could be headed to Sunderland on a permanent basis?
Through It All Together: Personally I’m a little disappointed as I would be keeping him around for one more year, or sending him out on loan. Currently our u23s left-back is Liam McCarron and I have Huggins ahead of him in that role - but if the time has come for him to play some first team football then this looks like a good move for him.
Were you surprised when it was reported he was allowed to leave permanently?
Through It All Together: I would have been surprised at the end of last season, but once he wasn’t involved in pre-season it was clear he was going.
What sort of impression has he made on the Leeds fans?
Through It All Together: Leeds fans for the most part rate him highly. He did very well in an impressive u23 season last year, and did quite well in tough circumstances when he came on at the Emirates for his debut.
What would you say his ceiling is as a player?
Through It All Together: I have been wrong before about players but I could see him creeping his way back up to the Premier League if he can stay fit. He did lose a year to injury which hurt his development and it remains to be seen if he has all that behind him. I would be comfortable in saying he plays in the Championship at least.
What kind of full back is he? I noticed that he previously played as a forward when he was part of Leeds’ U18s side. Is his best position on the left, or at right back?
Through It All Together: He is a very attacking full-back, with lots of energy to get up and down. Very Bielsa in that regard. When I have seen him, he has been better on the left, but it is early enough in his career that he would be fine on either side in time. Can also play in central midfield.
And what areas of his game would you like to see him improve whilst he’s with Sunderland?
Through It All Together: He could do with a bit of work defensively, as you would expect for someone who has only recently dropped into a deeper role. His decision-making could also do with work, and he definitely could have scored more goals given the positions he got himself into last season.
Overall, what would you say to anyone who isn’t sure about Sunderland signing Niall?
Through It All Together: My advice would be to give him time. He hasn’t played much senior football at all so it might take him some time to settle. However, I genuinely believe he will be a good signing for Sunderland, I fully expected a Championship side to pick him up.