Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi has stated that he hopes to make an impact at Parkhead next season, as he spoke extensively for the first time since leaving the Hoops.
Afolabi is at Dundee for a season-long loan spell in a move that he’ll hope will make up for lost time. The Ireland youngster managed two goals and assist in his six Dunfermline games last season before football in the UK was shut down.
Since then, he’s come back and not been given a sniff of first-team football. Instead, he’s had to watch on as Odsonne Edouard, Albian Ajeti, and Patryk Klimala took the reigns. With Leigh Griffiths back in the fold too, leaving for a short switch elsewhere was clearly the right thing to do for Afolabi.
And he’s admitted that he hopes the move bodes well for next season as he disclosed a chat with Griff before moving to Dens Park.
As quoted by the Courier, Afolabi said: “I got a chance to talk with Leigh as we ended up training together and he said Dundee was a brilliant club to go to, to really kick on with my career. So it is only positive when it is someone like Leigh saying things like that.
“I hope to get as many goals as possible to help the team and myself. I hope to get as many goals as possible to help the team and myself. Hopefully I can reap the rewards when I go back to Celtic next season.
“Being able to watch them train is great. Edouard is only a couple of years older than me so it is good to see the quality he has along with the other strikers. “It is always something to be able to work towards for the long term – it is good for my aspirations.”
A fine start; but kicking on is essential
Afolabi got his Dundee career off to a flyer when he rattled home for them in a pre-season game against Peterhead earlier this week. It’s a massive release of pressure for him, even if it was only a friendly. Seeing the ball hit the back of the next for the first time will just lift some of his nerves.
However, when the season kicks off later this month, Afolabi could do with shining. He performed well at Dunfermline in his short stint at East End Park last season, but if we’re talking about a player who’s going to come back to Celtic and compete, he has to be a stand-out.
Arguably, Afolabi could actually do with performing to an even greater standard than he did in Fife. A handful of goals and assists won’t be enough for the Celtic support to take notice of him.
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) September 29, 2020
Fortunately, he’s at a club that are building nicely ahead of the new campaign. They have the likes of Cammy Kerr, Alex Jakubiak, Graham Dorrans, and Charlie Adam. It doesn’t matter if a couple are ex-Rangers players – they’re a great standard of player for that level. That should only help Afolabi shine.
Bustling his way into the Dundee side on a regular basis will be his first goal of course. The Dees have also signed Nicholas Hamilton on loan from Canadian outfit York9, so he’ll have some fresh competition there.
This is perhaps one of our most interesting loan agreements this summer. As the season goes on, we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on Afolabi’s progress.