Manager explains snub for in-form Celtic player, fans will be baffled
By James Black
England Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd has explained his reason for snubbing Celtic’s Patrick Roberts – and revealed he called-up New York City FC’s Jack Harrison instead.
Roberts has become a key player in Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic squad and many were surprised when the 20-year-old was omitted from England’s Under-21’s after a strong start to the season.
The on-loan Manchester City youngster has impressed both domestically and in Europe this season but Boothroyd decided to take the opportunity for a closer look at Harrison.
NYCFC mainstay Harrison has been a revelation for Patrick Viera’s side in Major League Soccer since being traded from Chicago Fire during the 2016 SuperDraft and the Stoke-born midfielder has played a huge part in helping his side qualify for the 2017 MLS Cup play-offs.
Boothroyd admitted he had been impressed with Roberts’ performances for the Hoops but wanted to take a closer look at Harrison during the international break.
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“Patrick Roberts is a very good player who has done well and impressed for Celtic in the Champions League last week,” Boothroyd said as quoted by the Evening Times website.
“But I just looked at Pat and I looked at Jack and thought Jack had probably had a few more games than Patrick has had, who’s in a better place and he deserves a call-up.
“It will be good to have a look at him and he deserves to be picked.”
Celtic fans will be baffled by Boothroyd’s explanation, given that Roberts has made six appearances for the club since agreeing a loan move at the end of August, two of which have been starts in the Champions League.
Harrison moved to the United States aged 14 and was picked by ChicagoFire as the very first choice in the 2016 SuperDraft before being immediately traded to NYCFC.
The former Manchester United kid has gone on to become one of the first-picks in a squad including the likes of David Villa and Andrea Pirlo.