Leo Hjelde opens up on his initial Sunderland shock and plans following his Leeds United exit

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Leo Hjelde made his debut for Sunderland on Sunday afternoon against Middlesbrough

Leo Hjelde admits his first start for Sunderland this weekend was unexpected but he hopes to make the spot his own in the coming weeks. Hjelde only completed his permanent switch from Leeds United to Sunderland this week but Michael Beale showed no hesitation in giving the defender a full debut this weekend.

The Norway U21 international started at left-back as the Black Cats made the short journey to the Riverside Stadium to take on Middlesbrough and he played his part, behind former White Jack Clarke, as the Wearside outfit claimed a point against their local rivals. Hjelde made the decision to swap Elland Road for the Stadium of Light in the hope of seeing more game time, having struggled to convince Daniel Farke that he deserved to be involved at Leeds over the first half of the campaign.

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As such, while he wasn't quite expecting to be given such responsibility so early by Beale, he wasn't complaining, with the defender having aspirations of becoming a fixture in the Sunderland backline.

“It wasn’t something I was expecting but it was something I was hoping for,” Hjelde said about his first start, as per the Sunderland Echo. “Very pleased with the news and it was great.

“I felt like in the first half we should have put away a couple of chances to be honest. In the second half we started a bit scrappy so just had to dig in. Obviously after the goal it’s a bit tough, they had the momentum but it felt like we brought it back and we could have got something more but pleased with one point on the road.”

He added: “I will work as hard as I can and try and stay in the team. Obviously we have a great team here so it will be tough competition for places but I’m ready for what my job is and hopefully we can get the work done.”

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