A case for Kristoffer Ajer to be Celtic's number one right back

By Connor Gordon

October 23, 2018

For years, sections of the Celtic support have called for a solution to our right back problem. Kristoffer Ajer could be it.

The Norwegian is a surprise suggestion at first but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense.

Current right back Mikael Lustig has been a loyal servant to the club and was everyone’s mainstay on the team sheet.

Mikael Lustig has been blamed for defensive failings in Scotland and Europe. (Photo by Michael Molzar/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

However, the last two seasons have shown that perhaps the management team are not entirely content with the Swede.

Several right backs have been tried, even makeshift ones like Jack Hendry. But there is a case for having another go at turning a player into one that might be more successful.

Tale of the tape

The young Norwegian was bought from IK Start in his native country as a midfielder.

A Ronny Deila signing, but it was under current boss Brendan Rodgers Ajer featured more as a centre back.

A majority of people believe that Ajer has been a capable defender, very professional and athletic.

Unfortunately, playing time this season has been restricted with a first choice partnership blossoming with Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic.

Filip Benkovic’s introduction has meant less time at centre back for Kristoffer Ajer. (ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

That said, I believe that Ajer still has a place in that back four as a right back.

Anyone who has watched Ajer know that he reads the game well.

His lack of pace compared to a lot of traditional Celtic right backs can be less of an issue as Ajer won’t stray from position or be caught flat footed.

Defensive switch can help the attack

Ajer is a centre back who likes to get forward and is comfortable with the ball at his feet.

To continue this playing style as a right back would be beneficial to the team as he can get up the pitch with Benkovic and Boyata as cover.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Downsides include Ajer’s lack of a cross into the box but with James Forrest already pushing up, it allows an extra player in offence.

Furthermore, in attack, Ajer can drop back into a back three with Boyata and Benkovic allowing Tierney to push up too.

It’d be worth trying for Rodgers before ruling it out and having to go to the transfer market and blindly spending money on another right back.