Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Celtic Boss Full Of Praise For This Summer Arrival: How He Has Become A Useful Asset For Lennon

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Ayush Chaurasia
Sports Management Graduate. Wannabe sports manager/writer and researcher. If not found disscussing about sports, will be seen talking about movies or tv shows. Miserable rest of the times.

Celtic were having some severe issues at right-back over the past year as Mikael Lustig looked way past his prime and there was no other real option for the Hoops. They were linked with plenty of right-backs in the last few windows, and the club finally went on to sign Hatem Abd Elhamed, a 28-year-old defender from Israeli league Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

It’s fair to say that most of us had doubts over him as he was primarily an unknown quantity. Moreover, he had played most of his career as a centre back, and it was kind of surprising to know that Celtic were seeing him as a right back. Elhamed had played just a handful of games in his career in that position. However, so far in his time at Parkhead, the experienced defender has shown what he is capable of under Lennon’s stewardship.

Lennon on Elhamed’s impact

Lennon recently praised the versatile fullback on Celtic TV and said, ”We needed someone to play both positions (Centre back and right back) proficiently. He was outstanding at Ibrox when he was called on to go into central defence, and at right-back, in the big games, he has excelled. We’ve got a good player there, but Nir can deputise there as we have seen before he got the injury.”

The manager has already used him in both the positions and Elhamed hasn’t put a foot wrong since his arrival. An underwhelming signing earlier is now looking like a gem as the one-time Israel international has been able to hold his own even in European ties.

Why is Elhamed a significant asset?

The credit should go to the scouting team. The Bhoys were also in need of centre backs this summer as Dedryck Boyata had to depart from the club after his contract had expired and Filip Benkovic’s loan spell had ended. The club then spent the big bucks to land Christopher Jullien, and in Elhamed, they have managed to hit two birds with one stone as the 28-year-old is equally comfortable at right-back and centre back.

Moritz Bauer, who joined the club on loan, is another option as the right-sided defender. However, he will have to wait to get regular game time after Elhamed’s strong start to the season. The 28-year-old has played with maturity as he avoids going into rash challenges and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. He is decent on the attacking front as well and overall; the defender looks like an astute acquisition from Celtic’s management team.

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