"Exciting"; Ange's 2017 comments on reported Celtic target Riley McGree

By David Walton

January 9, 2022

As many will now have seen, Celtic have today been linked by the Daily Mail with the imminent signing of Australia international Riley McGree.

The report stated that the Hoops look set to fend off competition from English Championship clubs to seal a deal with the Charlotte midfielder. It comes after McGree impressed during a 14-month loan stint with Birmingham City that just concluded in December.

However, if Celtic did secure the Aussie, it won’t be Ange Postecoglou’s first experience of managing the player. Indeed, he gave McGree his first call-up up to the Australian national team back in his Adelaide United days. McGree only made his Aussie debut last year, but has since gone on to feature on 6 occasions.

Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

And it’s clear even back in his first call-up that Postecoglou thought a lot of the in-demand talent. Back in 2017, Ange said the following as quoted by Goal: “If he does well at training, he could play. If he looks like he’s adjusted well in training and looks bright, we won’t be afraid to throw him in, either. We haven’t had in the A-League too many teenagers even getting a run these days. I thought he looked exciting from the moment he broke into the team.

“I really like the way he’s adjusted to playing in an unfamiliar position against some pretty good opponents. He’s played [AFC] Champions League and A-League. He’s just someone I want to have a look at.

“We’ll give him [McGree] an opportunity and see how he adapts to the environment. If it proves to be a good move, he could be an exciting one for us in years to come.”

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These comments show exactly what Postecoglou thought of McGree as far back as over 4 years ago. Given he’s only come on leaps and bounds since then, he’s likely to still be a huge fan of the midfielder.

McGree has experience not just of playing in an advanced role, but he can also play deeper if necessary. That level of versatility could make him an intriguing option if Ange thinks he needs more midfield bodies.

If Celtic do get this one over the line, you have to wonder who is heading out the door. Celtic’s midfield would be too bloated, and the right player would have to be moved on in order for the balance to be right.

Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Then you have the question of where Ange ideally sees the player. Is he competition for Tom Rogic and David Turnbull? Is he there to provide genuine competition for the likes of Callum McGregor? What would it mean for Ismaila Soro and James McCarthy?

There are plenty of questions to be asked here, but Ange is a confirmed fan. You can see from the comments above that he didn’t just have a fleeting interest in the player either. He was genuinely big on the talent McGree had back in 2017.

So you can see why this one adds up. It’ll just be fascinating to see how Ange manages the squad if he pulls it off.

In other news, Experienced EPL manager leaves door open for potential future Celtic job