Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hinted that Olivier Ntcham could come into the side for this evening’s Europa League group stage clash away to Rennes.
FourFourTwo reported that Lennon is planning to start the French midfielder, along with compatriots Christopher Jullien and Odsonne Edouard, against the in-form Ligue 1 club.
When asked about Ntcham’s possible inclusion, the Celtic manager replied: “Yes, I am tempted to bring him in, because he’s a good player.” [via FourFourTwo]
Lennon added that he believes the French trio will be especially motivated to prove to people in their homeland how much they have developed since coming to Celtic. [via FourFourTwo]
However, the pair subsequently cleared their air, as reported by the Daily Record, and Ntcham has featured frequently so far this season (10 appearances out of a possible 14), albeit not as an integral part of the first XI (just four starts).
The 23-year-old has played a total of 453 minutes so far this season, scoring once and providing three assists, meaning that he has set up a goal every 151 minutes. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Ryan Christie, Edouard and James Forrest all have five assists each, but have all played more than 1,000 minutes this season, while Mikey Johnston has four assists from 701 minutes, an average of one every 175.25 minutes. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Ntcham has won praise from some reporters for a few of his performances in recent weeks. After coming on as a substitute against Rangers earlier this month, Sky Sports‘ Allan Valente said that “he looked dangerous and offered extra stability in midfield” at a time when Rangers were on top in the game.
However, they have Ntcham ready and waiting to come into the side, having not started since the win over Hearts nearly a month ago.
Against a Rennes side who have started the season excellently, sitting second in Ligue 1 with just three goals conceded in five games and having beaten Paris Saint-Germain only a few weeks ago, Ntcham’s creativity from attacking midfield may well be crucial whenever Celtic get into positions to test the home side.
Celtic fans, should Ntcham start against Rennes this evening? Let us know what you think by commenting below!
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