The return of Christopher Jullien will be a ‘massive’ boost for a Celtic side who look like they’re ‘missing a leader’.
That’s according to former Scotland full-back Alan Hutton, who was speaking to Football Insider.
Julien has been out of action since the end of December 2020 with a knee injury. It’s ruled him out of 34 matches to date.
Speaking midway through last month, manager Ange Postecoglou said that Jullien was ‘still very much on an individual programme’ and insisted Celtic were being ‘careful’.
It will be ‘a little while’ before he’s back in contention, the Australian added.
Celtic have managed to keep four clean sheets in their first 11 competitive matches of the new campaign.
Hutton says the partnership of Stephen Welsh and Carl Starfelt is unconvincing, with the former inexperienced and the latter struggling to ‘find his feet’.
He expects the composed Jullien to elevate the defence when he does eventually return.
“They must be desperate to have him back,” the former Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa man said. “I think they’re missing a leader at the moment in that centre-half pairing.
“Welsh has come in and done really well, but he’s young.
“Starfelt has only just walked through the door, he’s not found his feet yet after a difficult time at the start of the season.
“They need a calm head back there, so Celtic will be desperate for Jullien to come back.
“He’s played in those high-pressure games, and he can help bring on the centre-backs around him with his experience as well.
“He’ll be a massive part of this Celtic side, and when he’s fit he’ll come straight back in.”
Celtic’s centre-back ranks have been doubly weakened with Jullien sidelined and Kristoffer Ajer transferred to Brentford for an initial £13.5million back in July. Those two formed a reassuring partnership.
After such a serious injury, there may also be concerns that Jullien will struggle to recapture his former levels.
It’s key for Celtic’s domestic, and indeed European, ambitions that he’s fit and firing soon.
In other news, Celtic have been linked with this attacker.
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