Celtic’s on-loan winger Daniel Arzani could be missing for a few games in January as he is in line to represent his country in tournament action at that time.
Australian outlet The World Game reported that Australia’s under-23 caretaker manager Gary van Egmond identified him as a “very important” player for the team ahead of their involvement in the AFC Under-23 Championship in January, with Olympic Games qualification at stake in that tournament.
That is despite the fact that Arzani has been ruled out of action since last October after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in action for Celtic, as reported by BBC.
Arzani, who is on loan from Manchester City and can play on either the left or right wing, has not had the chance to show Celtic fans what he has to offer, having incurred that ACL injury on his debut for the club against Dundee on Halloween of last year.
Having never played for Manchester City’s first team, the only other senior exposure he has had at club level has been for Melbourne City in his homeland, where he scored twice and provided three assists in 24 appearances, averaging 0.08 goals and 0.12 assists per game. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Despite his sparse game time at club level even before his injury, the 20-year-old has won six senior caps for Australia (scoring once) and played in all three of their matches at the 2018 World Cup. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
The World Game hinted that Arzani has been “edging closer” to returning to action for Celtic, but even when he regains match fitness, he could find his route to the first team blocked by others who have performed commendably in recent months.
Left winger Mikey Johnston has had a productive start to the season with three goals and four assists from 10 games (0.3 goals and 0.4 assists per game), having scored five times and set up one goal in 25 appearances last term (0.2 goals and 0.04 assists per game).
On the right-hand side, James Forrest already has six goals and five assists to his name from 12 games in 2019/20 (0.5 goals and 0.42 assists per game), following last season’s return of 18 goals and 20 assists in 55 matches (0.33 goals and 0.36 assists per game).
Arzani’s misfortune with his ACL injury has given other wingers at Celtic the opportunity to prove their value to the team with abundant goals and assists returns.
He had to wait more than two months after joining the Hoops to make his first team debut and, with Johnston and Forrest in such good form, he could struggle to get into the side once he returns from injury.
Therefore, Celtic are unlikely to be affected greatly if he goes to the AFC Under-23 Championship in January. Indeed, it may be a good opportunity for him to get game time if he hasn’t featured much for Celtic by then.
Celtic fans, can you see Arzani breaking into the team at any stage and would he be missed if he goes to play for Australia’s under-23s in January? Let us know your views by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!