Carl Starfelt needs to hit the Celtic reset button post-international break

By David Walton

September 9, 2021

Let’s not kid ourselves, Celtic centre-back Carl Starfelt hasn’t gotten off to the best start to life at Parkhead.

Being thrown into the first-team immediately has only done positive things for the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi and Joe Hart. But you wonder whether Starfelt is one of the ones who’s struggled with such a high-intensity introduction to Scottish football.

The striker had barely let out his first breath as a Celtic player before being thrown into the team against Hearts on opening day. He made a bad error for the opener with some clumsy defending. After that, he would go on to put in another worrying display against the Jambos in the League Cup at Celtic Park.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

The worst was still to come when he bundled in an own goal in the Netherlands against Alkmaar with a comical attempt at a clearance. It wasn’t the way we’d hoped someone worth £4m was going to start their Celtic career [Glasgow Times].

In fairness to Ange Postecoglou, he hasn’t wavered in his commitment to his new centre-back. Despite looking uncomfortable on the ball and making goal-conceding errors, he’s still kept his place in the side consistently. Perhaps to his detriment in fairness.

Not every player has the same mentality or character about them. Certain players may flourish and enjoy being thrown into the mixer so quckly. Others can need time to adapt to their surroundings and their new teammates.

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Carl Starfelt needed to reset at Celtic; let’s see if it’s done him good

What must be mentioned of course is that Starfelt did manage to get through the Glasgow derby with a positive performance. Stat experts WhoScored gave him a ranking of 7.1/10 on the day – joint second highest in the squad.

So he managed to head off with the Sweden squad with a positive display under his belt. Even so, you get the feeling he just needed some time away from the couldron. Some time to meet up with his international colleagues and have a change of pace.

He managed a return to the Sweden team in a friendly against Uzbekistan last weekend. Unfortunately, however, he didn’t feature in any of the competitive games. Then again, that also may be for the best. He looked like a player that just needed a break from playing for a short period.

Photo by Gavriil GrigorovTASS via Getty Images

Starfelt has been given exactly what he was probably after – a period of recuperation. It’s hopefully allowed him to reflect on what’s gone wrong during the early stages of his Parkhead career.

Not that the former Rubin Kazan man has been terrible. It’s important not to go overboard here. But it hasn’t been the start we all wanted from him.

Celtic now go into an important seven-game phase before the next set of internationals. Starfelt will be pencilled in to be a massive part of that. But if he’s going to win over the Celtic support, we need a vast improvement on what he produced in his first month at the club.

Hopefully, the international break has done him a power of good in that respect.

In other news, Celtic not as damaged by derby defeat as rivals would’ve hoped

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