Celtic have so far enjoyed a fantastic season. They’re running away with the Scottish Premiership title, they are on course for a domestic treble and did well enough in a tough Champions League group.
As is the case when things go right at a football club, plaudits are continually dished out to the men that make the side tick.
Obviously boss Brendan Rodgers has came in and made Celtic entertaining to watch and managed to get the best out of his players.
Captain Scott Brown often looked over the hill playing under former gaffer Ronny Deila but Brown has managed to find top gear again under Brendan and is possibly playing the best football of his career at the moment. Stuart Armstrong has been terrific this term and that form continued for him during his international debut on Sunday, where he deservedly took home the man of the match award. Craig Gordon is once again the nations top shot-stopper and James Forrest has even managed to enjoy a consistently decent campaign.
Rodgers has brought in Scott Sinclair and the Team GB man has managed to get his career back on track and has found the net regularly. It doesn’t seem to matter which of his centre backs play, Rodgers is usually assured that the partnership will work well together, especially in the league.
New boy Moussa Dembele has certainly been one of the club’s standout performers. In forty-six outings so far this season, the young Frenchman has notched up thirty-two goals. That’s included a five goal tally in the Champions League and five against Old Firm rivals Rangers. That goalscoring form has seen him linked with a £30m move to Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. He’s also been tipped to win his first senior call-up with France before too long.
But for me, Celtic have another player whose talent could exceed all others at Parkhead.
Left-back Kieran Tierney is a superb footballer.
The nineteen year old never seems phased on the park and always seems to be progressing with each and every game. As he gains more exposure on the field, Tierney will venture further forward with well timed runs and he’ll add more tricks to his game and is becoming more eager to get into the opposition’s penalty area.
Even at his tender age, Tierney has already made sixty-five top team appearances. He’s managed to play in thirteen European fixtures, really impressed against Man City and he’s also received his first four caps for Scotland.
With each new step and challenge, the full-back passes the test with flying colours.
His ball control and quick feet often get him away from his opponents, and that has led to him being on the wrong-end of some nasty challenges. In a way that’s testament to Kieran’s ability and his already blossoming stature within the Scottish game, that other sides see him as a big threat and feel the need to stop him. But in terms of over the top challenges, we need to see officials protect him more and hope opponents remember to be hard but fair in their approach, they cannot be reckless.
In October last year, the left-back suffered from an ankle ligament injury and missed two months. But again he impressed when he returned from that with the same eagerness to do well and the same determination to do his job for the team. Many a young player would’ve been affected by that injury and may have lost a bit of self-confidence but not the Celtic youngster.
In Scotland we’ve got quite a few good left-backs for Gordon Strachan to call upon but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the right-back position. So against Slovenia on Sunday night, Gordon put Tierney in as our right sided fullback and once again he wasn’t phased by the challenge and he rose to the occasion. He again defended diligently and got forward when he could. It was only obvious that he was playing out of position when it came to his final ball and he had to cut back onto his left. But with time and a bit of extra training, I believe he could conquer that fear and swing in a few balls with his right foot.
After the game, Kieran said he was always willing to do his bit and learn:
“It’s obviously different being on your weaker side, but you just need to try and get the principles right and I worked my hardest.”
As I’ve mention a few times now, Kieran Tierney enjoys going on the attack and isn’t afraid to receive the ball and attack fellow fullbacks. But that’s not at a cost to his defending duties. Tierney is much in the mould of a Brazilian fullback, he’ll get forward when an attack starts but he has no problem getting back and making a tackle. He’s very good on the defensive side, he doesn’t bother about those attacking him and their reputations, he will just take the ball off them or hold them up.
His performances for the Hoops doesn’t seem get the same attention as Dembele’s, goalscorers will always get more column inches than the left-back but those performances haven’t gone unnoticed either. Far from it, as the papers today are linking him heavily with a move to Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United as well as a move to Arsenal.
You’ve got to think what with his ability and the teams that are showing an interes in him, it would take a bid of at least £20m to get Hoops Chief Executive Peter Lawwell to even cone to the phone and I couldn’t guarantee that figure would be enough for him to accept the bid.
Plus I’m not 100% sure that the boy would want to leave Celtic at this stage of his career. He’s working under a coach who believes in him and who will give him all the first team opportunities he wants. At Celtic he will be given more time to learn, make the odd mistake and learn again. Would he get that at a top English Premier League club? Just look at Luke Shaw’s time at United to get your answer on that one.
For me, I think Celtic and Rodgers would be more inclined to sell Moussa Dembele and keep Kieran Tierney this summer. It will be an interesting few months for the champions elect, with great progression comes greater suitors willing to offer you fortunes for your talent.
Can Celtic keep all their best players this summer? Only time will tell!
It’s just nice to see a player come through they youth set-up at a Scottish side and have almost limitless potential.
Posted on March 28th, 2017 by scott
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