Celtic youngster Lee O'Connor has shone in 3 positions whilst out on loan
Celtic youngster Lee O’Connor has stated that he doesn’t see himself as a natural right-back as he described his brilliant versatility.
O’Connor is currently on loan with Tranmere Rovers for the duration of the season. So far it’s been an incredibly productive campaign for the young Irishman. With 30 appearances to his name, the former Manchester United youngster looks well placed to compete at Parkhead next season.
Yet even though he left Glasgow a right-back, it looks as though things may have changed. O’Connor has featured in three different positions for the League Two club including at right-mid and as a defensive midfielder [Transfermarkt]. He can also play as a centre-back too.
He’s been speaking to the Glasgow Times, and has shed some light on just how many positions he feels comfortable in.
“I think I’ve been doing well. I can play in different positions and I’ll play wherever I’m needed, so I feel this is the best it’s been.
“I’ve played centre-half, I can play at right-back and I’ve played a bit further forward. I know some people might see that as not having a settled position and what not, but for me I see it as a big plus because I can play anywhere. I don’t actually see myself as a right-back, just able to play wherever I’m needed.
“Jeremie (Frimpong) went in and was fantastic. Welsh (Stephen Welsh) has gone in and done fantastic as well, so they’ve taken that chance. That’s what I want. Anyone who has grown up as a fan will want that, and I feel like I’ll always keep working and hopefully it will work out.”
Celtic will have a use for Lee O’Connor next season; down to him to show he can operate at this level
It’s interesting to hear O’Connor talk about him not seeing himself as a right-back. Especially considering that’s exactly where we’ll be needing reinforcements in the summer.
When he arrives back in the summer, we’ll have gotten rid of three right-backs since his departure to Tranmere. Hatem Elhamed, Frimpong, and Jonjoe Kenny will all have left by that stage. If O’Connor is looking for opportunities, they’re going to come down that right side.
He has, of course, proven himself further up the pitch. But he’ll do well to ever oust James Forrest from his position, as well as any new signing the next manager brings in.
The same goes for the defensive midfield positions. Those are tied up even if Scott Brown leaves after his contract runs out in the summer. Callum McGregor, Ismaila Soro, Kerr McInroy, Luca Connell, Scott Robertson, and Liam Shaw are set to vye for those.
Central defence, however, is interesting. Celtic will likely see the departures of Kristoffer Ajer and Shane Duffy this summer. Chris Jullien is also out until well into next season. That leaves us with a massive centre-back shortage. If O’Connor can prove himself there in pre-season, that would be an added boost for the Hoops.
Regardless, it’s clear his spell in England has gone swimmingly so far. Let’s see how much of it he can apply at Lennoxtown come pre-season.