Leo Hjelde says he is ready to make the ‘step up’ as he continues his loan spell at Ross County amid interest from the likes of Leeds United.

The Norwegian defender was labelled ‘the next Virgil Van Dijk’ by Staggies manager John Hughes after his impact following a loan transfer from Celtic in the winter. Leeds United tried to buy him before his loan move north but Celtic convinced him to stay as Marcelo Bielsa came calling.

Hjelde is wanted by Leeds United.

Leo Hjelde is wanted by Leeds United. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Looking ahead to Ross County’s Scottish Premiership survival fight, Hjelde says he can move up a gear with Leeds United and others after his services (YFS): “When you play the biggest teams you have to do a lot of defending but the manager really wants to play with the ball.

“We like to play with it but we don’t have it all the time. That’s professional football.  The coaches have all been really good and the gaffer has helped me become a professional player. My biggest aim is to keep Ross County up and play at every opportunity I can, performing as well as I can.

“Playing first-team football for Celtic would be a nice goal but we will see what happens. I believe I can step up at Celtic and I am up for the challenge of stepping up.”

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