Celtic FC Women have been making plans for next season, as the Hoops look to build on a season where both domestic knock-out trophies were landed and use that success as a springboard for a more sustained title challenge next season.
Already Fran Alonso has tied down the likes of Jacynta, Chloe Craig, Caitlin Hayes, and Kelly Clark on new contracts, and yesterday there were a couple of surprising exits announced by the club with Academy graduate Chloe Warrington moving on alongside Maria Olafsdottir Gros.
#CelticFC Women can now confirm that Academy graduate and double cup winner @chloewarringtxn has left the club. Thanks for your hard work over the years Chlo, and all the best for the future🍀💚 pic.twitter.com/n4W3o4uBFz
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) June 6, 2022
Both players have been solid squad rotation options for Fran Alonso last season, although both perhaps have paid the price for the formation Celtic playing no longer suiting their talents.
In the case of Chloe Warrington there is a talented young full back there, but with Celtic preferring to operate with wing backs, as solid as Chloe is defensively – and she often filled in from the bench in the back three – the attacking instincts were perhaps not strong enough for the player to be utilised as a wing back. To that end, as popular a player as Warrington was, the decision to move her on probably makes a lot of tactical sense.
#CelticFC Women can tonight announce that Maria Olafsdottir Gros has left the club. Thanks for playing your part in the historic cup double Mimi, best of luck for the next step in your career💚🍀 pic.twitter.com/WOBV4Ode9e
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) June 6, 2022
In the case of Maria Olafsottir Gros it’s a similar story but the other way about. The Icelander was very much a technically proficient attacking player, indeed as an out and out winger there was enough ability in Olaffsdotir-Gros to suggest the future at Celtic would be a long-term one. Yet the player when tried as a right sided wing back appeared to lack the defensive nous required, and chances playing as a winger would be few and far between in this Celtic team. Meanwhile with the likes of Jacynta, Clarissa Larisey and of course Charlie Wellings being ahead of her in the central attacking areas, once again opportunities to play would have been limited going forward.
Both players are talented players nonetheless and impressed in spells at Celtic, as such a future in the game at a club who will play to their strengths will no doubt be just around the corner.
Yet Celtic have to take a long hard look at the squad this summer and difficult choices have to be made. To that end it may well be the moving on of Warrington and Olafsdottr-Gros makes way for a couple of players Celtic desperately need.
Celtic’s back three is a solid unit, yet wing back options are limited, and in both positions on the left and the right Celtic require reinforcements. Ideally natural wing-backs who can cover the ground but crucially can add attacking impetus and cross ball delivery as well as being strong defensive cover and options to pass from the back for their central defensive teammates.
In Chloe Craig and Jodie Bartle both are right footed and both are sound enough on their natural right side, yet neither – in the big games at least – offer enough going forward particuarly when utilised on the left.
Against the smaller part-time sides in the SWPL1 this rarely matters such is the gulf between the top three sides – possibly four if you are generous and include Hibs – and the rest of the league, but in the big games against the likes of Glasgow City and theRangers Celtic can be exposed, and even against the smaller sides where racking up the goals is vital, having players in those key positions who are equally as adept as an attacking option as they are defensively could prove crucial.
As such, with Chloe Warrington and Maria Olfasdottir Gros moving on, room can now be made in the squad for new additions and hopefully two positions earmarked by Fran Alonso for reinforcements can be both win-back positions. Getting those choices correct could have a huge impact on Celtic mounting a genuine title challenge next season with the Celtic manager determined to deliver the SWPL1 title to complete his set of domestic trophies after delivering both the League Cup and Scottish Cup in Celtic FC Women’s most successful season ever.
And both Chloe Warrington and Maria Olafsdottir Gros leave with their heads held high, with winners medals in their bags and with the knowledge that they played their part in both cup wins. Everyone at The Celtic Star wishes both Ghirls all the best.
David Potter’s new book, Willie Fernie – Putting on the Style is out now, and you can order from Celtic Star Books – link below – or pick up a copy from the official Celtic Stores…