Whelan Brands Celtic Ace’s Midweek Performance ‘A Disgrace’: Does He Have A Future At Parkhead?

Noel Whelan Has Branded Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham A Disgrace - Ntcham celebrates
ROME, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: Olivier Ntcham of Celtic FC celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League group E match between SS Lazio and Celtic FC at Stadio Olimpico on November 7, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

According to a recent interview conducted by Football Insider, former Aberdeen attacker Noel Whelan has branded the midweek performance put in by Celtic’s French attacking-midfielder Olivier Ntcham a disgrace. The 24-year-old was given the green light to start the Hoops’ match against Sparta Prague by Neil Lennon, and it must be conceded that his performance was nothing short of abysmal. Not only did he not impact the tie in the manner that the manager would have desired, but his attitude for the entirety of the fixture was found lacking as well.

Although Noel Whelan has branded Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham a disgrace, whether or not he has a future at Celtic remains to be seen. Speaking on the matter, the former Leeds United man said, “No excuses for not working hard, absolutely none and it was a disgrace because when you get given an opportunity, you’re in a European night, you know, the first thing that’s always on your list is work hard. If I’d seen players like that play that way, he’d have been hooked straight away. You can always tell after 10, 15 minutes and that, to me, it’s something where you’ve got people sitting on the sidelines, young players that want an opportunity, they’d have done better than him.”

How Has Olivier Ntcham Made A Name For Himself?

The Frenchman was born in Longjumeau back in 1996 and started his footballing career with Paris’ second most famous football club – Paris FC. Having made the switch across the channel from La Havre to join Manchester City’s academy back in the summer of 2012, big things were expected of the midfielder. Despite having been a member of the books at the Etihad Stadium for just under five years, at no point did it look like he was going to break into the first-team. This prompted the Citizens to try and cash in on him, and Celtic were jolly on the spot to sign him up.

Noel Whelan Has Branded Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham A Disgrace - Ntcham in action
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 26: Olivier Ntcham of Celtic in action during the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round match between Celtic and Ferencvaros at Celtic Park on August 26, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Since making the switch in the summer of 2017, Ntcham has gone on to make a total of 145 appearances for the Parkhead club, producing 24 goals and 13 assists along the way. Although there have been spells over that duration where the Frenchman has looked like a top quality player, consistency has always been an issue for him. This time around, Neil Lennon started the season with the former City man as the first-choice in the number ten role, but his influence on the team’s attacking play itself was quite limited. This caused him to eventually be replaced by Tom Rogic in the eleven.

What Kind Of Player Is Olivier Ntcham?

An attacking midfielder by position, Ntcham is undoubtedly at his best when playing in the number ten role. Although this is the case, he has been quite poor in that position over recent weeks, thereby leaving Neil Lennon in a rather sensitive position. The Frenchman tends to be a good carrier of the ball when in full flow, while his ability to strike the ball from distance is well documented as well. Despite this, the one thing which has haunted him throughout his career is the alarming lack of consistency that he displays. Depending on a player like that was never going to be a good idea for an ambitious club like Celtic.

Noel Whelan Has Branded Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham A Disgrace: Does He Have A Future At The Club?

As much as Noel Whelan is right about the player’s dismal midweek performance, it must be taken into account that no one from the Celtic team displayed any kind of conviction in that Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague. The Hoops’ form of late has been nothing short of calamitous, and the idea that his performance levels will improve as the team’s does is one that needs to be considered as well. At 24, Ntcham still has the time and natural talent required to develop, and if he is able to change his attitude towards the game, then there’s no reason he shouldn’t have a bright future at Celtic Park.

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