Christopher Jullien not fearful of Olivier Ntcham's Celtic chances

By David Walton

November 26, 2019

Celtic centre-back Christopher Jullien doesn’t have any fear for Olivier Ntcham’s Parkhead chances.

Ntcham has played in Celtic’s last four matches, but just one has come as a starter. Before that, he had a struggling October with injuries. Overall this season, he’s managed 20 appearances as he continues to be a regular in the team (Transfermarkt).

Despite that, he remains second-fiddle to Scott Brown and Callum McGregor. That’s been proven to be Neil Lennon’s favourite partnership in the midfield. Both men continue to start every big match, with Ntcham often seen on the bench.

Olivier Ntcham has been in and out of the team this season (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But Jullien doesn’t hold any concerns about his countryman’s future opportunities. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, the former Toulouse man simply used it as an opportunity to big up the squad.

“Olivier scoring that goal against Lazio was a really good thing. Ever since I arrived, Olivier has stayed with me as a friend and made me feel better on the field too.

“We all know his talent so I’m not afraid for him. The fact he has been in and out of the team says a lot about how good our squad is. When you have quality and talent like that sometimes you won’t be playing every game. We are all together though and that just shows the strength we have.

“I think it’s really good for the team that in every training session you have to fight for your place. That keeps the momentum going and it’s really good for the squad.”

Ntcham has his role to play in this Celtic squad

Jullien’s comments paint a sensible picture of Ntcham’s situation. Yes, he isn’t first choice. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of opportunities for him to impress.

Ntcham has to be patient. (Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images)

In fact, the mere fact he has 20 appearances out of 28 games is decent stuff. Considering injury ruled him out for a few, those are positive numbers.

There is perhaps some frustration for Ntcham in that only eight of those 20 games have come as a starter. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t made a big contribution, however.

Jullien is also right to use it to help back up the idea that we have a hugely talented squad. That we do. The fact that Ntcham can’t get more starting spots is simply down to the quality we have in McGregor and Brown. If it wasn’t for the duo’s ridiculous consistency, Ntcham would be in from the start more often.

Ntcham has plenty to be pleased about (Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images)

However, the Frenchman just has to be patient. After securing us a little piece of history in Italy, Ntcham is well in the good books with the supporters.

He’ll continue to come on in big games, and it’s in those moments that he has to strike. But for now, not many will be fearing his spot as a regular in the team.