Has Brendan Rodgers finally lost faith with Jack Hendry?

By David Walton

December 5, 2018

Is Brendan Rodgers finally losing faith in struggling centre-back Jack Hendry?

The former Dundee man signed for Celtic last January, in a deal costing the club around £1.5million. It was a record fee for Dundee, and Celtic fans have since felt robbed over the transfer.

That’s because whenever Hendry has featured for them, he’s looked shaky. A terrific and composed performance in a 3-2 win at Ibrox was the only real outing of his 25 Hoops appearances so far where he looked the part.

Jack Hendry hasn’t been featured for Celtic in recent times (Matt Browne/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

In most others, Hendry has been a disaster waiting to happen. He doesn’t look comfortable on the ball, and his distribution from the back looks like the weakest point to his game.

He’s a towering centre-back, and is strong in the challenge as expected. He lacks the necessary skills needed to be a Rodgers centre-half, however. He needs to be able to take the ball under pressure and pick the right pass. Since arriving, however, this is one of the key areas that Hendry has struggled in.

Rodgers didn’t want him playing in Europe

Rodgers pretty much admitted at the start of the season that he wouldn’t have wanted Hendry to play in Europe. Injuries forced Celtic to feature the former Dundee man in their biggest games of the season. He was part of the Celtic side to lose out to AEK Athens in the third round qualification stage.

The arrival of Filip Benkovic, however, seems to have thrown Hendry back down the pecking the order. The Croatian has been a consistent performer alongside Dedryck Boyata over the last couple of months, and looks the part.

Since a 1-0 win over Aberdeen back in September, Hendry hasn’t featured in any Premiership match. He’s also not even been in the squad for two of them.

Celtic signed Hendry from Dundee for £1.5million last January (David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Overall, the Scottish international has managed just three appearances in total since that September Dons win. It seems to be that he’s only now used as a last resort, and it was telling that Rodgers brought on Jozo Simunovic at the weekend, Hendry wasn’t even in the squad, despite being fit.

It all points to Rodgers having finally realised that his big-money signing isn’t good enough. There’s a decent centre-back in Hendry somewhere, but this has been too big a step-up so far.

December could be a big month for him. With constant rotation expected, he may get his chance to shine once again. As it stands, however, the Celtic manager appears to be seeing what everyone else has for a while.