Former Celtic defender Jackie McNamara has commended Christopher Jullien for his recent form, having felt that the Frenchman had “a slow start” at the club after his arrival from Toulouse during the summer.
Speaking to Football Insider after Celtic beat Lazio 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, McNamara identified the defeat at Livingston in early October as a low point in Jullien’s fledgling Celtic career.
However, he believes that the 26-year-old has improved significantly since then and referenced his aerial ability as a standout strength.
He told Football Insider: “Jullien had a slow start adjusting but he’s shown he can get better and better. He had a slow bit coming in and came unstuck against Livingston.
“On the whole he’s been brilliant and dominant in the air. He’s got through it all, they’ve won the game and it’s a fantastic result.”
McNamara is quite right to praise Jullien’s strong aerial presence, given the figures that the Frenchman has recorded for that attribute this season.
He has averaged 3.8 successful aerial duels per game in Celtic’s Europa League campaign, second only to Kristoffer Ajer with 4.5 and more than twice as many as every other player in the Hoops’ squad, as per WhoScored.
The 26-year-old won seven headers in the win at Lazio on Thursday, the joint-most of any Celtic player, while he came out on top in five aerial duels when the Hoops beat CFR Cluj 2-0 in October, with only Ajer (six) winning more for Neil Lennon’s team that night.
McNamara understandably picked out the Livingston game as a low point for Jullien, who did indeed struggle that afternoon.
As highlighted by Mizgan Masani of Read Celtic, he missed two decent chances and was booked that day, while he was also defensively suspect, with The 4th Official claiming that he “might have to take some blame” for the two goals Celtic conceded in that defeat.
That off-day doesn’t seem to have affected Jullien too much, though, with the Frenchman starting every game for the Hoops since then and scoring an 89th-minute winner in the Europa League home win over Lazio with a headed goal, as per BBC.
Also, Celtic have conceded just four goals in six games with the 26-year-old at centre-back since losing to Livingston, as per TransferMarkt.
McNamara’s praise of Jullien’s recent form is quite understandable and his views about him being “dominant in the air” is backed up by the defender’s impressive statistics.
Celtic fans, do you agree with McNamara’s opinion of Jullien? What have you made of his form this season? Have your say by commenting below!
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