NIALL HUGGINS is confident “massive club” Sunderland will bring the best out of him after he moved to Wearside from Leeds United – and is looking forward to continuing to combine his club career with his international duties for Wales Under-21s.

Huggins progressed from Leeds’ academy into the first-team at Elland Road, and made his Premier League debut against Arsenal in February.

However, he opted to sever his links with Leeds last month and sign a four-year contract with Sunderland in the hope of securing regular first-team football at the Stadium of Light.

With Denver Hume having turned down the Black Cats’ offer of a new contract, Huggins is set to battle with Dennis Cirkin for a starting spot on the left of Sunderland’s back four, and the 20-year-old cannot wait to make his mark on Wearside.

“It was a great experience to be near that first-team level in the Premier League,” said Huggins, who has been training with Wales Under-21s ahead of their European Championships qualifier in Bulgaria tomorrow.

“But Leeds are looking to bring in lots of high-quality players from around the world and, opportunity-wise for me, it was going to be hard to break through.

“The pathway just got a bit smaller for me and when I heard Sunderland were interested, it was huge. They are a massive club.

I know they are in League One now, but they’re fighting to get back up the leagues and they’re a Premier League club really. The philosophy there is similar to Leeds and think I can bring a lot to them.”

Huggins, who can operate as a wing-back or even a left midfielder as well as an orthodox left-back, made his Sunderland debut in last month’s Carabao Cup win at Blackpool.

He is hoping to feature in this weekend’s top-two clash with Accrington Stanley, but his immediate focus is with Wales and his home nation’s attempts to kick-start a Euros qualifying campaign that got off to something of a stuttering start with a goalless home draw against Moldova in June.

“Everyone’s had a pre-season and we’re all feeling fit and ready to go,” said York-born Huggins, whose father comes from Bangor. “Bulgaria like to press high and hopefully that will help us."