It would be wrong to state that Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is under huge pressure with the challenge of retaining the league title next season. Given how things panned out last season, Celtic’s dominance in the Scottish Premiership is quite established. However, what would very much concern Rodgers will be the Champions League.
The manager now knows the strengths and weaknesses of the team perfectly and many would expect him to take the side further than the group stages. The Bhoys have made a few intelligent buys this summer, unlike Rangers, and we expect them to deliver. Here are 3 players who need to step up next season.
Jonny Hayes- With Rangers FC firing on all cylinders in the summer market as soon as the previous season ended, Celtic took their own sweet time to land their first signing in Hayes. The former Aberdeen winger is a veteran in the Scottish Premiership given his long-playing career in the country. In Aberdeen last season, he managed to score 11 goals and assist a whopping 24 times from the flank.
Rodgers would expect similar displays from him and given that the Bhoys are pretty much the best side in the Premiership, Hayes shouldn’t have much problem in delivering it. His phenomenal pace and crossing abilities would be highly depended upon now given Patrick Roberts returned to Manchester City following his phenomenal loan stint last season.
Kieran Tierney- Scotland’s young defensive sensation has been on the radar of many top clubs this summer, mostly in the Premier League. And the fact that the 19-year-old decided to stick with the Scottish giants despite strong interests from some of the Premier League giants like Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, makes it all the more important for the youngster to perform.
Yet another disappointing season in the Champions League would be enough to prove his inability to perform in big games, and all the limelight would vanish in a second. With the World Cup coming up next year, it would be important for him to keep the consistency going too. He was a regular under Rodgers last season playing 31 times, and his brilliant display of eight assists and one goal is bound to keep him in the starting line-up this season too.
Olivier Ntcham- The central midfielder comes at Parkhead on the back of huge praise and expectations and given that he is likely to end the long-standing crisis of a perfect number 10 for Rodgers, he will have to be one of the big performers next season. The Manchester City wonder kid idolises Zinedine Zidane and Paul Pogba in the midfield and desires to be like one.
A beast of a midfielder, he has the perfect blend of power and technique in the attacking third. The best way of unlocking opponent’s defence is drilling one’s way in and Ntcham can provide Rodgers exactly that. Although his previous stint with Italian side Genoa turned out to be unproductive, there will never be a more important season in his career than the next one.
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