Ewan Henderson; Chase the lion, run to the roar

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It’s not been a great weekend for Celtic by any stretch of the imagination. The Parkhead faithful have been rocked by the explosive interview from French outlet L’equipe where Olivier Ntcham has advised that he needs a move away from Celtic Park to improve his footballing career and his development.

However, what shouldn’t fly under the radar is the article on Ewan Henderson from the Scottish Sun Sport on Saturday afternoon.

The article is based on an interview with Liam Henderson where he discusses his brother Ewan’s future at Celtic.

Liam comments that Celtic is “The right place for his brother Ewan” and backs Ewan to become “one for the future”. Liam with all respect is a very talented footballer and playing his trade in Italy. He’s led a very colourful career at only twenty-three years old and mastering his craft in three different countries; Scotland, Norway and Italy.

He played for Celtic between 2013-2018 making twenty-nine appearances. Opportunities for Liam at Celtic were extremely difficult to come by as Celtic predominately prefer to invest more in the midfield area than anywhere else on the park. I believe we were able to see how effective Liam could be in his loan spell at Hibernian. He showed a good eye for a pass, he was direct and wasn’t shy of taking the ball on in hospital situations.

However, it wasn’t to be for Liam and he’s moved on and is making great strides in Italy.

I would like to see Liam obtain more caps for Scotland. However, my perspective is it will be his brother Ewan, who will succeed first.

Going back to the Ntcham storyline, this is where I believe young Henderson can expect to experience more game time for season 2019/2020. There have been rumours floating around that Zenit St Petersburg where expected to launch a £9million pound bid for Tom Rogic. However, nothing concrete has been explored. I feel now is the perfect scenario to sell Ntcham for offers over £12million and a hefty fine from Celtic for having a mouth as “wide as the Clyde” and let’s move on.

Celtic stands to make a good profit on the £5million signing from Manchester City. I don’t think the fans should mask over the many doubts we have over Rogic’s injury concerns. However, I wouldn’t be too hasty in launching him into space just yet. I also don’t think we should inject the money from the sale of Ntcham into the attacking midfield role.

Let’s keep Rogic as “numero uno” and wee Hendo as number two. Don’t lavish my view with cynical laughing just yet. I am more than confident that Henderson can make this position his own. Only, if he’s given the investment of game time and the freedom to express himself when he’s given these opportunities.

Ewan has shown so far that he’s got all the makings to be the next big player for Celtic. A youth product alongside Mikey Johnson who can make the club plenty of millions in the future, should they choose to move.

Ewan has the hallmarks of a smooth and classy operator as an attacking midfielder. Although his natural position is in central midfield. I think Neil Lennon should cut the reigns off and let the bhoy operate further up the park.

Look at the game against Motherwell on the 24 February 2019, where he was named “player of the match”. Since then he’s proved he’s got guile, he’s got creativity and he can poke the ball through the eye of a needle.

Granted, he may not be able to play all the games both in the Premier League and in Europe. Rogic will carry that burden. However, it shouldn’t stop the belief in the process and allowing Ewan to make this position his own. One thing I would like Ewan to work on more this season (2019/2020) is his final ball and linking the play from midfield to the forwards. This will all come from experience.

It’s looking increasingly likely that Mikey Johnson will start predominately on the left wing this season and rightfully so. However, it shouldn’t go un-noticed how MJ and Ewan have complemented each other so beautifully in the pre-season games.

The young bhoys have shown they’ve got that magical “telepathic” link that’s so important in forming relationships with your team-mates. The player instantly knows where that link is to feed the ball to him and how that player likes the ball to be fed to him and vice versa. It’s stunning to watch that link unfold in one swift movement.

It’s never easy having an older brother at the same club. But wee Hendo has come in and shown the Parkhead faithful his undoubted class.

I want Ewan Henderson to chase the lion for season 2019/2020. Let him run to the roar.

James Pearson

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