Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 defender Leo Ostigard is aiming to become only the second Norwegian player to represent the Seagulls’ first team, as he proudly flies the flag for his country in England.
The summer arrival from Molde was named as an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 Emirates FA Cup victory over Derby County at the Amex Stadium, and making his senior bow would see him emulate Torbjorn Agdestein’s nine appearances between 2011 and 2013.
He said, “It’s always good to be involved with the first team, I’ve trained a little bit with them now and I feel good - it’s a step up, but to be in the stadium with nearly 25,000 people was great and a fantastic experience.
“The game itself was good from the side, we scored two nice goals – it got a bit intense in the end, but we held on well for the win which was the most important thing.
“For a Norwegian player to come over to England and be involved with a Premier League team is really good, and obviously it makes me very proud.
“I know that a lot of people from Norway are watching me and keeping track of my progress, so it’s always great to be involved in such a big team - football is massive in this country and it’s fantastic.”
Since making the switch to the club during the summer, Ostigard has become a part of Simon Rusk’s title-chasing under-23 side, making eight league appearances in the process after making his debut against Derby's under-23s in October.
The under-21 international assessed his time with the club so far and highlighted the remarkable campaign to date, which now sees the side harbouring realistic ambitions of winning the league.
“The under-23s have done very well, we feel a very good team this year and we’ve had quite a few people go out on loan. At the start of the season we had a certain set of regular players and now that’s changed a lot, so that shows how well we’ve done.
“We have a lot of good players and a competitive group – we’re hard to beat and we have done well so far, we’re second in the league and we want to win it now.
“The aim was always to stay up, having come up last season, but ever since I arrived at the club the level has been really good and in many ways it’s difficult to believe the team only got promoted to the division last year.
“We work very hard, especially out of possession – I’d say we work harder than a lot of sides and that’s why we’ve done so well this season.
“We want to win every game and there’s a real belief and desire that we can do that. We have great support from the coaching staff and at the moment we’re doing very well.”
Having been given a taste of the senior environment for the victory over Frank Lampard’s side, the defender insists he’ll be seeking more of the same between now and the end of the current campaign – despite acknowledging the strong competition for places in his position.
“For myself I’d obviously like a taste of more first-team action, but I know how competitive the squad is – especially in my position in central defence.
“It’s probably one of the strongest areas in the team, but when you get the chance you have to be ready.
"Things can change so quickly in football, so you never know what can happen - I'll stay as best prepared as I can.
"I’m just looking forward to training as much as I can and doing well in the under-23 matches, then we will see what happens in the future.”