Leo Hjelde was one of the most highly-rated youngsters at Celtic and had even drawn comparisons with Virgil van Dijk, before he ended up departing the club and joining Leeds United, before ever really making a mark at Parkhead. It is safe to say that that was disappointing for everybody associated with the Hoops as there were hopes that the defender could end up becoming a big part of the team in the future.
But then, his exit should not have come as a huge surprise. In fact, Celtic have struggled with keeping hold of their most talented youngsters in recent times.
Many of them have ended up joining other European clubs like Bayern Munich, Manchester City and others before ever playing first-team football for Celtic. And Hjelde was another name that was added to that quickly growing list recently, having switch the Hoops for Leeds United.
Now, there appears to be some clarity on why Hjelde was struggling with life at Celtic. As reported by Dagbladet, his father said:
“He had to stand in quite a lot when he was in Celtic. We hardly saw him in a year, and he was just sitting in a room to himself. So those were tough thanks. We tried to help where we could, but there were long periods when we could not visit him. It was not just easy, so to speak.”
He further added that leaving his younger brother was tough on Hjelde:
“The toughest thing was to leave little brother. I think that was the worst. They have spent countless hours together on the football field, been together a lot and are very close.”
Celtic suffered a massive blow when Hjelde ended up joining Leeds United
It is safe to say that Celtic have lost way too many highly-rated youngsters to clubs down South and beyond in recent years.
Of course, one cannot overlook the club’s struggles to provide opportunities to those coming through the youth ranks and the fact that they have not been able to play Champions League for a long time as potential reasons for why youngsters are leaving Celtic so frequently in recent years.
Coming to the topic of Hjelde, it would have been wonderful to have him at Celtic longer and see if he was able to establish himself in the first-team. But, it looks like he was struggling with life at Parkhead and thus, it was perhaps the best decision for him to leave.
This article was originally posted here