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Celtic

Three Celtic players ready to make an impact at the World Cup this summer

Ruari Macneil

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Celtic have always boasted a highly international line-up during the modern football era, with the squad usually being made up of players from as many as 15 different countries. Always with a strong Scottish, Irish and English representation, the club has developed the reputation for nurturing young talents from the African and Asian continents, as well as from the four corners of Europe.

As a result, there tends to be a strong Celtic representation at most European Championships and World Cups, and Russia 2018 is set to be no different.

With Sweden, Australia and Costa Rica all competing at this summer’s World Cup finals, there will be at least three Celtic players with a near certain chance of making it onto the pitch when July arrives, and the rest of the fan base will be watching intently.

The following trio of Hoops stars are those who will be hoping to impact the world’s largest footballing stage, after very mixed seasons on the domestic scene with their club.

Mikael Lustig

Mikael Lustig has had arguably his worst season to date in a Celtic shirt, having continually delivered sub-par performances compared to his usual consistent self. The Swedish veteran has come under a fair amount of criticism over the course of the year, with many calling for a new right-back to be brought in to the club with the eye to replace him. As a result, Lustig will definitely feel he has a point to prove in Russia this summer.

With 64 caps to his name, the 31-year-old is among the most experienced in the Sweden squad and, as Celtic’s vice-captain, his leadership qualities are well known. It will be a tough ask for Lustig and his defensive partners to keep the likes of Germany and Mexico at bay but, having faced the world’s best on plenty of occasions with Celtic, the full-back will be fully prepared for all that comes his way.

Tom Rogic

Along with Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic is the player Australia will be looking towards to help lead their country’s charge towards qualification out of the group and into the knockout stages. Rogic has endured some injury problems this season. However, in the latter half of the campaign, he has looked back to his best with some stunning displays against Rangers in the big derby games.

Usually an attacking midfielder, the 25-year-old has been deployed up front on occasion for his country due to his versatility and is fairly experienced with 35 caps to his name. With the hopes of a nation lying on is shoulders, Rogic will be used to the type of pressure having played for the Hoops for the past six years, with every performance expected to end in a win.

Facing up against Denmark, France and Peru in group C, if things go their way, there is actually a chance that Australia could make it through.

Cristian Gamboa

Cristian Gamboa has barely kicked a ball for Celtic this season and, as a result, he will be looking to make the biggest impact out of the trio in Russia this summer, most likely showcasing his talents and playing for a move away from Glasgow. Unfortunately for the former West Brom star, Gamboa has slipped down the pecking order at Celtic Park, finding himself behind Lustig and academy graduate Anthony Ralston.

On occasions where both have been unavailable, we have seen the manager switch to a back three to allow James Forrest to play as a wing-back, which shows you just where Gamboa is in Celtic’s plans.

Nevertheless, Gamboa is still a near certain starter for Costa Rica, who really left their mark on the World Cup finals last time around. With 62 caps, and the experience of a World Cup quarter final penalty shoot out under his belt, Gamboa will be raring to go in June, facing up against some people’s tournament favourites Brazil along with Switzerland and Serbia in group E.

 

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

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Celtic

Record fee for Odsonne Edouard is a gamble that Celtic must take

Josh Kerr

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Odsonne Edouard
Photo: Getty Images

The Scottish Sun have reported that Scottish champions Celtic are prepared to break their record transfer fee to keep Frenchman Odsonne Edouard at Celtic Park next season.

The 20-year-old’s loan spell with the Hoops was very much a success, as he scored 11 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions. The youngster made just 12 league starts and still managed to finish as the club’s second-highest goalscorer as Brendan Rodgers’ side recorded a second successive treble winning season.

Considering he is still a teenager and is not even close to fulfilling his undeniable potential, Brendan Rodgers will definitely be considering making a move for the Paris Saint Germain loanee if his goal scoring stats were to keep improving.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The biggest concern regarding the move is the club record fee that Celtic would be forced to pay. Spending £10 million on such a young player, would be a huge game, especially considering he is still yet to play for PSG and wasn’t a regular starter for the majority of the campaign.

However, any slightly concerned Hoops supporters will look to Edouard’s moment of sheer brilliance during the most recent Old Firm game at Ibrox, when the youngster scored a stunning winner that involved a sublime touch and a drop of the shoulder to fire the winner home for the green side of Glasgow.

At just 20 years of age, Edouard was able to turn the biggest Scottish Premier League game of the season on its head. This is a sign to fans that he could a player who simply thrives when the pressure is applied.

His moment of class against the Gers should perhaps convince Rodgers that Edouard may be the kind of player who would relish the opportunity at being the club’s record signing.

His promising record is encouraging and, with more starts next season, his current stats could look very pedestrian if the Frenchman continues to improve. Despite the high fee, it could prove to be a bargain if the youngster is given the time to find his place in, arguably, one of Scotland’s greatest ever squads.

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Celtic should consider approaching PSG for Alec Georgen after Odsonne Edouard success

Celtic should get back in touch with PSG again this summer.

Mathew Coull

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It looks as though Celtic will be able to tie up the permanent transfer of striker Odsonne Edouard this summer. As reported by the Daily Mail it appears Celtic are ready to pay £5 million for the Paris Saint-Germain striker with add-ons set to make the overall figure increase.

The 20-year-old was something of an unknown when arriving at Parkhead on loan last summer. But he has impressed, with 11 goals in 29 appearances and in the last two months of the season, in particular, he looked a real threat.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After the success of this loan deal, it is easy to wonder whether Celtic might want to be in touch with PSG again this summer over another loan deal, for their talented right-back Alec Georgen.

The 19-year-old defender has spent this season out on loan in Holland. His agent Mino Raiola sorted a move to play with Jong AZ, the youth team of AZ Alkmaar. Here he played four consecutive games at the start of his loan spell in the Dutch second tier. Jong AZ won all four of those games, with the player receiving rave reviews. But an Achilles problem cut short his season and that was that for Georgen.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

But the teenager, who is the captain of PSG’s under-19 side is a top talent. The French youth international, who helped his nation with the under-17 Euros in 2015, is considered a star for the future at both club and international level.

As for Celtic, they could use reinforcements in the right-back position. Mikael Lustig’s powers are starting to wain and Brendan Rodgers certainly needs new recruits in the position.

Georgen is a wonderful talent with the potential to go on and become a star for both PSG and France.

After the success of their deal for Edouard, it would be a good move from Celtic to go back to the French capital and see what they say about their teenage right-back prodigy.

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Celtic

Erik Sviatchenko could be like a new signing for Celtic next season

The Danish defender spent the second half of the season away from Celtic on loan.

Mathew Coull

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January saw Celtic decide to let Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko make a move back to his former club FC Midtjylland on loan. The centre-back was having an indifferent campaign at Celtic. After suffering a knee injury at the start of the season he found himself struggling for first-team football at Parkhead. Kristoffer Ajer’s development into a central defender and the presence of Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic saw him pushed out of the matchday squad altogether.

It was a shame to see him pushed out in this manner. Sviatchenko had an excellent 2016-17 campaign with the club, playing 43 times for the Scottish club and establishing himself as a genuine first-team option.

(Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sviatchenko had shown great development in his 18 months at the club. He joined the club in a £1.5 million deal from FC Midtjylland in January 2016 and it appeared Celtic had a bargain on their hands.

But after his struggles this season, perhaps Celtic is a step up he cannot quite handle.

Although, the opposite might also be true. In fact, the £1.5 million man might actually be like a new signing this summer.

Sviatchenko had an excellent spell back at his former club. He quickly played himself back into the first-team at the club. His presence helped an inspired run toward the Danish Superliga title.

(Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the end, they managed to overturn the points lead that Brondby had and this week won the league title for the second time in their short history.

His form has shown that he is still more than capable of playing a role for Celtic. His season was decimated by that injury at an extremely unfortunate time from which he could not get back into a settled and successful team.

But this summer, he will have a chance in pre-season to push for first-team football at Celtic once again.

Fans who remember his better days in a Celtic shirt will be happy to welcome him back, as he could become a crucial member of the Celtic squad once again in 2018-19.

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