Celtic defender Christopher Jullien has made some interesting comments to La Provence.
The French outlet, covering the debacle faced by Olivier Ntcham in France, spoke to the Celtic defender. A top name in French journalism, La Provence is read extremely widely in the nation. Christopher Jullien was approached to give his take on Ntcham’s departure, and his comments will be pored over, no doubt.
Christopher Jullien claimed that Ntcham was “starting to stagnate” at Celtic; a sentiment that will worry anyone of a Hoops persuasion.
Via La Provence, Jullien continued:
“He had taken a step forward in Glasgow but he was starting to stagnate, because he remains in Scotland. [Ntcham] needed a new challenge. I see him succeeding at OM, he has everything he needs to achieve this.
“This stage will be able to make him grow even more. He has always had the qualities to aim for a major championship like Ligue 1.”
“Sometimes, in training, he gave me problems because I wanted to win and he just wanted to play. He was our technical leader.
“Never a guy who spoke a lot, but a leader in the field by his actions and his technical touch.”
What is Celtic defender Christopher Jullien saying here?
It’s possible that we’re overreacting, but there are concerning signs here.
Christopher Jullien is ostensibly suggesting that a technical player like Olivier Ntcham wasn’t trained effectively at Celtic. What’s being argued is the Ntcham had all the tools to make it work, but the Scottish league was hampering his ability to shine.
However, the “just wanted to play” rather than win sentiment is particularly interesting. Supporters were fed up with Olivier Ntcham’s lack of drive over the last two seasons. Clearly a talent, it was his application that alienated Celtic supporters.
That’s a sad sign. Jullien’s mentality is beyond reproach – just watch him play and any doubts will be assuaged. Ntcham, however, never showed the same passion in a Celtic shirt. Plenty of players never speak a lot, as Jullien puts it. And Ntcham was never seen as a leader, which is fine, because not everyone is.
However, his clear lack of motivation has gone beyond speculation and into fact.
Going forward, though, should Celtic supporters be worried? Are we under management which doesn’t emphasise skill and technical ability? If so, that’s quite concerning, and puts the future of players like Edouard in further doubt.