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Celtic: Kevin Phillips says Hoops would be taking ‘gamble’ with Enzo Maresca

Celtic: Kevin Phillips says Hoops would be taking ‘gamble’ with Enzo Maresca - Celtic News

Celtic would be taking a huge ‘gamble’ if they appoint Enzo Maresca as their new manager, according to Kevin Phillips.

The Hoops are weighing up the candidates for Neil Lennon’s permanent replacement after the Northern Irishman resigned in February.

Maresca has been one name mentioned as a potential successor, with Italian journalist Nicolo Schira even claiming he was Celtic’s ‘first target’ for the job.

Phillips explains why Maresca may not fit the bill

However, Phillips – the English Premier League’s Golden Boot winner in 1999/2000 – has issued a warning.

He pointed out that there is a requirement for immediate success at Parkhead and that swiftly dethroning Rangers may be too big an ask for Maresca, currently in charge of Manchester City’s under-23s.

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“It would be a risk because Celtic need to be challenging next year at the very minimum. They really need to win the league,” Phillips told Football Insider.

“To take a young manager, who has no experience of Scottish football or managing a first team is a big ask.

“Rangers are flying so I think Maresca would be a big risk. If it was a long-term rebuild and they hadn’t won the title in years then maybe. It would be like when Rangers appointed Gerrard.

“But next season Celtic need to be challenging for the league at the very least. Maresca would be a gamble.”

Enzo Maresca’s credentials

As Phillips mentioned, Maresca has not taken charge of a team at senior level before, but he has been an assistant coach at Sevilla and West Ham (Transfermarkt). He worked under Premier League-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini at the London Stadium during the 2018/19 season.

The 41-year-old Italian is doing an excellent job with Man City’s youth side. They are two points clear at the top of Premier League 2 with a game in hand and their goal difference of +30 dwarfs that of the teams below them.

The big question, of course, is whether he can make the step-up to senior football management.

Transfer Tavern verdict

As much as Rangers’ celebrations are a galling sight for Celtic fans after watching their side win nine consecutive titles, perhaps they could actually afford to exercise some patience.

The Gers will take some catching regardless – they’re 20 points ahead with six games remaining and they haven’t lost a league game all season.

Perhaps the Hoops should be willing to accept a little more short-term pain for long-term gain. After all, their Glasgow rivals have bought into a project with a previously unproven coach in the form of Steven Gerrard, and the signs are very promising for him. Maybe Celtic could have similar success if they take a punt on Maresca.

In other news, this former Celtic player is reportedly interested in the job.

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Article title: Celtic: Kevin Phillips says Hoops would be taking ‘gamble’ with Enzo Maresca

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