The Celtic strategy of picking up young talents from Premier League clubs who probably won’t get a first team chance is starting to pay dividends. The big English clubs seem obsessed with stockpiling players without having an obvious pathway to their first team, so there could be plenty real gems in there.
This Summer saw the arrivals of Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor and Jonathan Afolabi from Man City, Man United and Southampton. Frimpong looked brilliant when he played against Partick Thistle in the League cup, so it’s only natural the others will want to show they are worthy of a chance in the team.
Lee O’Connor was highly rated at Old Trafford, and his ability to play anywhere across the back line meant it was surprising they agreed to let him go. Of course he’s still young and needs to settle in, but it sounds like he’s starting to eye a spot in the first team.
Some of his comments were recently reported by The Daily Record. O’Connor said: “I’ve been enjoying it. I’m just settling in at the moment, I’m just looking forward to playing my football and showing them what I can do.”
He went on to say: “You want to get into the first team. That’s why I went to Celtic – it’s what I’m looking to do and hopefully I can do it.”
It does sound like he’s starting to settle in but some competitive first team football could do him the world of good at this point in his development.
It could be useful to send him out on loan for the second half of the season. Ajer really came on during a loan spell at Kilmarnock, so a similar move to another Premiership team could help put him in a position to challenge for a place next year.