Ange sets the record straight on the Liel Abada/James Forrest Celtic conundrum

By David Walton

December 1, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has today explained the Liel Abada/James Forrest conundrum that appears to have many wondering who the first-choice is.

Forrest returned from injury in the 0-0 draw against Livingston back in October. His only other 2 league appearances have come in cameos against Dundee and Aberdeen respectively. Forrest also came on as a sub in the recent League Cup semi-final win vs St Johnstone, with his only start coming against Bayer Leverkusen last Thursday.

Instead, Postecoglou has been favouring summer signing Abada. That’s despite the fact the Israeli has been struggling to hit the heights of his first few weeks in Glasgow.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

At the same time, Ange is trying to manage Forrest’s return from an injury that kept him out of action for the best part of 2 months. And today, he’s addressed the Abada/Forrest selection dilemma by setting the record straight on the latter’s situation:

“With James, he’s missed a lot of football. There’s no chance he’s going to be playing every game when you’ve had such an interrupted start to the season. We’ll sort of make sure he’s available every game.

“To do that we’re going to make sure we understand where his body’s at and where he’s at as well. He recovered well after his first game and it was good to get him some minutes again on the weekend. He felt good about that.

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“Having Liel [Abada] and Mikey Johnston in those wide areas is going to be important for us.”

Celtic winger James Forrest will build up his minutes in the coming weeks

We know how fragile Forrest can be when it comes to injury knocks. He’s been at the club his entire career and has had a host of setbacks in the past. The last thing Postecoglou wants to do is burn the player out and be back down to one option down the right flank.

Abada isn’t performing to the levels we know he’s capable of. That’s fine. He’s only 20 years of age and inconsistency will be rife in his game for some time to come. There was a period in Forrest’s career when he suffered the exact same.

But Liel has to be utilised more regularly at the moment until such a time comes as the manager believes Forrest can start playing the vast majority of matches.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

You can expect this rotational policy to continue in the coming weeks. We have 10 games separating us between now and the winter break in January. There will be plenty of times over the next month alone in which Forrest is in the team and the same goes for Abada.

Debating who is better than the other isn’t a priority at the moment. It’s simply managing James back to as close to 100% as he can get to and taking things from there. We have some massive games coming up, and Ange is hopefully about to feel the benefits of having a high-quality squad.

Here’s hoping everything goes to plan in the coming weeks.

In other news, Celtic boss today delivered a promising January update; “really confident” with progress