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Celtic: Rico Henry watched by Hoops last week

Celtic: Rico Henry watched by Hoops last week

Celtic are keeping close tabs on Brentford left-back Rico Henry, with the Hoops seeing the player up close recently.

The Daily Record reported that Celtic’s recruitment chief Nicky Hammond watched the player in action for the English Championship club last week.

According to the Daily Record, Brentford value the 22-year-old at £7m and are set to offer him a new contract in the hope of repelling interest from other clubs.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hoping to make further additions to his squad this month, with the Daily Record quoting him as saying: “We will look to up the quality if we can in the positions we want to.

“We can still buy players from England. You might get good deals coming out of there, or abroad, now. We are in a healthy position. I like the squad but we are always looking to strengthen.”

Henry joined Brentford from Walsall in 2016 but his time at Griffin Park has been hampered by injury, with a dislocated shoulder in his first season followed by lengthy knee and foot injuries in the following two campaigns.

Those have restricted him to just 37 appearances for the Bees, in which he has scored once and provided three assists, while also ruling him out of England’s Under-2o World Cup triumph in 2017.

Despite his unfortunate injury record, Henry is not afraid to put himself about for the good of the team, averaging 1.6 tackles per game last season for Brentford along with 1.5 interceptions per game.

He is comfortable with taking the ball upfield and using it to good effect, too, with match averages of 0.8 dribbles and 0.8 key passes in 2018/19.

The sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal has left Celtic with little cover for Boli Bolingoli at left-back and the Belgian has not had the most convincing start to his Hoops career.

Writing for Football Scotland, Jonathan McFarlane voiced concerns about Bolingoli’s “total lack of defensive awareness” that has led to him being responsible for goals conceded in two Champions League qualifying matches already.

Henry has plenty of room to improve in terms of his ball retention, with a passing success rate of 79% last season, while his spate of injuries in recent years could raise reservations about that trend continuing throughout his career.

However, at just 22, he is still young enough to put those injury troubles firmly behind him, while his tackling and dribbling statistics hint at a left-back who is comfortable with defensive as well as attacking duties.

Also, if Bolingoli continues to commit critical errors, Lennon could do with a more reliable left-back to call upon. With an asking price of £7m, Henry would seem like a sensible addition to the squad.

Celtic fans, should the club go all-out in trying to sign Henry before the transfer window closes? Join in the discussion by commenting below!

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Article title: Celtic: Rico Henry watched by Hoops last week

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