Teenage Celtic midfielder Luca Connell could be elevated into the first-team reckoning at some stage this season.
Football Insider reported that the 18-year-old has been making quite an impression on Hoops manager Neil Lennon and his coaching staff in training recently.
According to Football Insider, Lennon is planning to integrate the youngster into the first team in the coming months, having been training regularly with senior players at the club.
Connell joined Celtic on a four-year deal this summer, having cut his teeth in senior club football with Bolton last season, but he has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Scottish champions, instead having to be content with a couple of games with the reserve side in the Scottish Challenge Cup.
The Republic of Ireland underage international is primarily a defensive midfielder, but even in his fledgling club career, he has demonstrated a useful versatility, having also been deployed at left-back, left midfield and central midfield over the last few months. [via TransferMarkt]
His path to the first team has been blocked by seasoned midfield professionals such as Scott Brown, who is 16 years his senior, Nir Bitton and Olivier Ntcham.
Connell may need to continue being patient for first-team opportunities but he can take heart from the recent emergence of Jeremie Frimpong, another teenager who came to the club in the summer transfer window.
The former Manchester City defender had played only once for the first team prior to the October international break but has made a telling impact in the last couple of weeks, setting up a goal on his first Premiership start against Ross County and then scoring in the subsequent win at Aberdeen. [via TransferMarkt]
Oliver Birch of Read Celtic wrote that the young right-back “continued his brilliant start to life at Celtic with another display full of energy and promise” in the win at Pittodrie.
With Frimpong making a positive impression after being thrown into the Celtic first team, Connell should be encouraged by the defender’s impact as he continues his own battle for senior recognition.
He has yet to even make the bench for the senior side, but so had Frimpong prior to his debut against Partick Thistle a few weeks ago.
If Connell can keep impressing on the training ground, his Celtic debut should come sooner rather than later, especially if some of those ahead of him in the pecking order become unavailable through injury or suspension.
Celtic fans, do you think Connell will get his chance with the first team before the season is out? Have your say by commenting below!
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