Celtic, despite a slow start, have gathered momentum and reclaimed the top of the table spot following a series of favourable outcomes. But the season has just started, and yet the ongoing injury woes should make Brendan Rodgers a worried man with plenty left to play for at the moment. The crisis at the back is alarming with both Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer struggling to remain fit whereas young Jack Hendry was underwhelming when handed opportunities to flourish in the absence of key individuals.
The Hoops, nevertheless, have been boosted by the quotes (as reported by The Scottish Sun) of Leicester boss Claude Puel who has categorically ruled out a January recall of Filip Benkovic, the Croatian centre-back who is in blistering form since being loaned out to Parkhead immediately after joining the Foxes from Dinamo Zagreb.
Also, the recent interview of wantaway Dedryck Boyata must be viewed as a massive uplift ahead of the winter window. The player opted not to turn up for Celtic as they refused to sell him despite big money offer from Fulham back in summer and received stern criticism from the supporters for his attitude.
He, meanwhile, was reintegrated after failing to complete a switch and has now spoken up about his future, as quoted by Daily Record.
“That was hard. I will not deny that. But everything is going well again today. I play every game. We will see what the future will bring. I do not try to think too much about that.”
It is to be seen now whether Rodgers decides to retain him in January and lets him leave for free next summer when his contract runs down. The Northern Irishman would have loved to make a profit on his prized resource but should instead retain him for few more months considering the title challenge they are encountering against famous rivals Rangers under Steven Gerrard’s tutelage.
Boyata is indubitably the first name on team sheet due to his defensive traits of quite a top order. He, alongside Benkovic, has formed a resilient central defensive pair which have regained stability, discipline and robustness at the back and should be key to their success at home as well as abroad.
The Hoops have conquered the ‘double treble’ over the past two campaigns since Rodgers was unveiled as the new Parkhead chief and is now eyeing an eighth successive Premiership triumph to maintain supremacy over the likes of Rangers. A revamp in the defensive third should be the topmost priority once the season concludes, however, retaining Boyata must be a bigger necessity for now as the player seems less adamant now and unlikely to throw a tantrum when the window reopens.