Rodgers explains decision to limit game-time for £4.5m Celtic player
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes that limiting game time will help Olivier Ntcham in the second-half of the season, and he has predicted that the 21-year-old will be a big player for the Hoops in their quest for a second consecutive domestic treble.
The French under-21 international, who joined the Hoops from Manchester City in the summer in a transfer that cost a cool £4.5million, has started only 12 of the 22 matches he has been in the squad for so far this season.
But Rodgers, as quoted by The Herald, says that the player’s style of plays means that he can’t be risked to start every game, and some supporters were disappointed that he only played 18 minutes of the recent Old Firm derby against Rangers.
“He definitely will kick on”, the Bhoys manager said. “It’s just me managing his load and games. He is 21 years old and has been away on loan at Genoa for two seasons in which he played 38 games.
“When he has the games in his legs and the body to sustain it without risking injury he will play more consecutive games.
“He is not like [Scott] Browny who plays 40-50 games a season for 10 years. For Olivier this is his first real episode of playing. I have to manage that.”
Ntcham and his team-mates are currently in Dubai at the end of their winter break as the Hoops prepare for the second-half of the season.
The Bhoys return to action on Saturday when they begin their defence of the Scottish Cup with a home tie against struggling Championship side Brechin City.
The other notable game fans will be looking forward to is the Europa League last 32 clash with Zenit, the first leg of which takes place in Glasgow on the 15th of February, and Ntcham could well be a key player in that game.
In other Celtic news, Scott Sinclair needs to up his performance level
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