Norway manager Lars Lagerback seems to have suggested that Kristoffer Ajer could improve as a football by leaving Celtic.
The defender made 47 starts in a real breakthrough season in Glasgow and is now seen as a first-choice centre-back ahead of next year. The 21-year-old has also emerged as a key player for Norway and that has prompted his national manager to broadcast his thoughts.
Lagerback told the Scottish Sun: “I don’t think the Scottish league inhibits his development, but it’s fair to say if he became a regular starter at a higher level, it would probably speed it up.
“The harder the level you are at, the more you have to be on your toes.”
Are his comments justified?
The Scottish league hasn’t seemed to inhabit the likes of Moussa Dembele, Virgil Van Dijk and Andy Robertson is recent years. The trio have gone on to bigger and better things since leaving the Premiership but all three would still value it’s effect on their development.
Ajer may not be getting tested to the same level every week as he would in a better league but he’s learning other valuable skills. The defender is developing in a pressurised environment. Celtic are expected to win every week and sometimes that’s not an easy pressure for a youngster to cope with.
We also dominate possession in the majority of our matches. That means that Ajer is being asked to be more than just a defender. The Norwegian is often required to find a neat pass or drive out of the back to help us in an attacking sense.
He’s playing every week for the club and will also get the chance to test himself in European competition. Not many other clubs could offer him such a challenge.
So all in all, it’s not a bad lot for the youngster at Celtic. He’s clearly enjoying life and won’t spend too much time listening to his national boss.