Who makes it into Celtic’s strongest midfield?

Celtic’s midfield has been a major talking point amongst supporters this season. When you consider how settled this area of the side was during the last campaign – arguably the hardest position to break into – the early season changes have come as something of a surprise.

However, with Brendan Rodgers getting readjusted back to life at Celtic and looking to mould the squad to fit his vision for the future, big decisions have already been made with midfield stalwart Reo Hatate making way for David Turnbull on the opening day.

Turnbull performed phenomenally on flag day, putting in a man-of-the-match performance against Ross County which kept him in the team for the trip to Pittodrie on Sunday.

The Scottish international followed this up with a poor first-half, which saw him hooked at half-time for Reo Hatate, who instantly made an impact and raised the energy levels amongst the Celtic squad.

His injury just 15 minutes into his time on the park was a worrying one, which has raised even more questions than answers.

What is the strongest Celtic midfield?

With Celtic having aspirations of improvement at a European level, questions have been raised over what is Brendan Rodgers’ strongest midfield. There are no doubts that Callum McGregor makes up one of the three. The captain of the club has time and time again proven himself at a high level, whether that be for Celtic in European competitions or the Scotland national team, playing a starring role in the recent 2-0 win over Spain.

Matt O’Riley has nailed himself down as a starter with his electric start to the season. During a tough Champions League campaign last year, O’Riley was one of a select few players who rose to the occasion and made his presence count. This was evidenced in the final group fixture against Shakhtar Donetsk when he was awarded the UEFA man-of-the-match award. And all of this whilst playing in an unfamiliar role, as the Dane operated in a deeper midfield position in place of the injured Callum McGregor.

The final midfield slot is where some questions may be raised by fans, as David Turnbull has reinserting himself into the equation this season. However, he struggled against an Aberdeen team that came at Celtic and bypassed the midfield with ease.

Reo Hatate, on the other hand, has the energy levels that Celtic will need to harry European opposition, whilst breaking down attacks before they can progress beyond the midfield. This is a must-have quality for Celtic in Europe where the team are constantly going to be under the cosh. If the Japanese is fit, he definitely completes the strongest Celtic midfield trio.

Who fills in for Hatate?

The timeframe of the 25-year-old’s injury is uncertain, but the fact that he made an attempt to try and continue on is ecouraging. If the injury is long-term, however, then who takes his place?

Whilst his performance may not have been of the highest level against Aberdeen, of the midfield options available, David Turnbull may be the safest choice.

In saying that, Brendan Rodgers could perhaps take a gamble on his new man who signed this summer.

What part does Odin Holm have to play?

Signed for £2.5 million this summer, Odin Holm has caught the eye in his substitute appearances so far in green and white. The former Valerenga man has looked neat and tidy on the ball as well as possessing a willingness to get stuck into a hard tackle and carry the ball forward.

Whilst the dynamic of the midfield could be thrown up in the air with Holm’s introduction, if Rodgers can find a way to work the 20-year-old into the Celtic midfield then it can only be beneficial for the club in the future. With some of his contemporaries suffering from injury and loss of form, there is a good chance that Holm will have a part to play in this weekend’s trip to Rugby Park.


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