Chris Sutton has unorthodox plan to help Celtic man Mikey Johnston
Chris Sutton believes Celtic winger Mikey Johnston is undoubtedly talented, but he needs the rough treatment Hoops favourites Aiden McGeady and Shaun Maloney received at Barrowfield.
Sutton was on co-commentary duties for BT Sport on Thursday night. He had the best seat in the house to watch Johnston against Real Betis, and although he had some impressive moments, there were also concerns. His lack of urgency in pressing for Betis’ first goal, and his flubbed chance to make it 4-2, were frustrating.
Sutton, something of an old-school pundit, believes it’s down to the senior Celtic players to force a reaction from Johnston.
The former Celtic striker said [Daily Record]:
“As much as I like him, I would be battering him every day in training if I was still in that dressing room. Wide players need to know when it’s not about them. When to understand you need to release the ball rather than beating a man a couple of times.
“It’s not about fancy tricks or YouTube clips. It’s about sticking the ball in the net or into areas for others to do so. The likes of myself and Henrik Larsson used to give Shaun Maloney and Aiden McGeady a kicking on the training ground.
“They probably hated us but it was for their own good. They were brilliant footballers but they needed to learn the game – even if it was the hard way.”
Chris Sutton and his old-school approach probably wouldn’t go down well now but his Mikey Johnston sentiment still rings true
Firstly, imagine being a Celtic supporter in the early 2000s, with so much raw talent that you’ve made first team training. You can’t wait to play along your idols, the brilliant Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton, feeding them passes, building relationships and learning from two greats.
Then you turn up and get lumps knocked out of you for a morning. Poor Aiden, and poor wee Shaun.
It probably wouldn’t work now but the sentiment is right. Both McGeady and Maloney enjoyed distinguished footballing careers. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Larsson and Sutton would’ve helped, albeit in a bruising fashion.
Johnston needs to make better decisions on the football pitch. He has the talent to be important for Celtic, just as Maloney and McGeady did. The difference was, that the latter two learned to be unselfish at the right times, make the right calls and be consistent contributors for the Hoops.
We don’t endorse kicking lumps out of Mikey Johnston, to be clear. On the off-chance any Celtic first-team players are reading this.
Still though, he needs to be challenged in training to make the correct on-pitch decisions. If that means going a bit old-school, so be it. Perhaps not as ruggedly as 20 years ago, but somehow.
Before we finish; imagine getting kicked up and down Barrowfield by Henrik Larsson? The conflicting emotions would be too much.