Celtic cult hero Chris Sutton has praised Patryk Klimala for the hard work he’s put in over the past few months, as shown by his physique, but issued a word of caution (Daily Record).
The Poland Under-21 striker joined Neil Lennon’s side at the start of the year for a reported £3.5million fee (The Scottish Sun) after seven goals in 18 appearances last season for Polish Ekstraklasa side Jagiellonia Bialystok.
Klimala scored 11 goals in 48 appearances in total for Jagiellonia, having made his debut in July 2018, as well as spending a season on loan at Wigry Suwalki in the 2017-18 season, netting 13 times in 28 games.
The 21-year-old has been acclimatising to a new country and style of football and as such was handed limited game time by Neil Lennon prior to the Scottish Premiership season being called prematurely, with two league appearances and two Scottish Cup outings.
With preparations under way for the 2020-21 season, Celtic have been sharing pictures of their players in training, and Klimala in particular has caught the eye thanks to his shaven head and muscular physique.
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“So much has happened over the past few months, it could have slipped the mind Celtic paid serious money for the Polish striker,” Sutton wrote in the Daily Record. “To see he’s come looking bulked up and hungry to make an impact is promising news – and it might save Neil Lennon dipping in to his transfer budget.”
Although Sutton acknowledges that Klimala won’t dethrone Odsonne Edouard or Leigh Griffiths in the short term, he stresses that the youngster needs to be ready when called upon, and hopes he hasn’t lost any of his pace.
“Klimala might not have cost a lot of money in English terms, but £3.5million is a more than decent outlay for Celtic in the context of Scottish football,” added Sutton. “He started against Clyde and was I blown away by his performance? Not really.
“You need to cut him some slack but if Lennon was liking what he was seeing in training he might have featured a bit more. It’s good to see he’s bulked up but as long as it’s not at the expense of the pace which his reputation is built on.”
With Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths ahead of Klimala in the pecking order, not to mention a need to get used to a different country and style of football, the Polish starlet hasn’t had much of a chance so far at Celtic.
However, Klimala’s physique has caught the eye, testament to a player who has worked incredibly hard over the past few months in spite of current events, and it bodes well for the future if – or more appropriately when – that same drive is taken to the training ground and the pitch.
As for Sutton’s concerns over Klimala’s pace, Callum McGregor said he’s “still looked really quick in training” and “looks in top condition and raring to go” (Daily Record).