Thursday, October 6, 2022

Irish Defender Hasn’t Exactly Set The World On Fire After Joining Celtic: Did Lennon Make A Mistake?

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Nikhil Vinodh
Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.

When Premiership champions Celtic announced the loan acquisition of Brighton and Hove Albion’s Irish international defender Shane Duffy, the fans expected him to come in and immediately solve their defensive crisis. Although the initial signs after his arrival were positive to say the least, things have taken a sharp turn for the worse over recent weeks. One of the main issues that Celtic have faced on the matter is that the big defender is only suited to a back-three. To this effect, it is probably worth stating that Celtic could come to regret signing Shane Duffy from Brighton.

Not only has this forced Lennon into playing a three-man defence line, but the rest of the team was seemingly built around him right from the off. The Hoops’ back-line has been far from secure since the start of the campaign, and the recent defeat against AC Milan in the Europa League showed them in the worst possible light. Yes, Kristoffer Ajer impressed heavily against what was a strong Milan attack-line, but the exploits of Shane Duffy, and Stephen Welsh alongside him, were questionable to say the least.

What Prompted Celtic To Bring In Shane Duffy?

The defender was one of Brighton’s most influential figures at the back before he was suddenly dropped from the side, albeit understandably so. The 28-year-old was a regular in the Premier League for the Seagulls from 2017 through 2019 – a period during which he made more than 70 appearances in the competition. The Irishman first made a name for himself while playing in the Championship for Blackburn Rovers, which is from where he attracted the interest of Brighton. Since joining the seaside club however, Duffy was quick to win over the fans as well as the sceptics.

Celtic Could Come To Regret Signing Shane Duffy From Brighton - Duffy in action
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 22: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan looks to break past Shane Duffy of Celtic during the UEFA Europa League Group H stage match between Celtic and AC Milan at Celtic Park on October 22, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

He made a total of 130 appearances across all competitions, and managed to score eight goals during that period as well. The former Everton academy graduate became a full international for Ireland back in the summer of 2014, from which point he has gone on to become the captain of the Irish national setup too. Despite all this, Duffy featured just 19 times in the Premier League during the 19/20 season, and this prompted the defender to force a move away to get regular playing time.

What Kind Of Presence Does Shane Duffy Offer?

The Irishman isn’t your quintessential modern-day defender, and in fact, is probably one of the more old-fashioned centre-halves around right now. Not only is he a force to be reckoned with in the air, but his ability to use physicality to win challenges makes him stand out from the rest. Despite being a defender by trade, it must be conceded that Duffy offers an extremely intelligent presence, in that he is capable of reading play and making timely interceptions, especially when dealing with aerial crosses into the area. He also offers a goal threat from set-piece situations.

Celtic Could Come To Regret Signing Shane Duffy From Brighton: Why? 

The Irishman has shown quite explicitly during his short stint at Parkhead so far that he is only suited to a back-three. Despite the amazing quality and dynamism that his partner Kristoffer Ajer brings to the table, it isn’t enough to make up for Duffy’s lack of mobility. Pacy attackers and wingers tend to be the Brighton loanee’s nightmare, as he doesn’t have the speed, nor the energy, to keep up with the play. From a neutral perspective, it’s obvious now that Duffy is a one-trick pony – one that is excellent at dealing with aerial balls, but not so good when the ball is kept on the ground. It would be surprising to see Duffy staying beyond the current season, especially if the basis for the decision were his performances for Celtic so far.

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