Odsonne Edouard’s form has taken a real kicking, but he has a big backer in John Hartson.
The heroic former Celt has hit back the snipers taking aim at Celtic’s young Frenchman. Despite being 20-years of age, Edouard is having to lead the Celtic line on his own with no back-up available to help him.
This has coincided with an extreme dry spell in front of goal for the former PSG kid. Just one goal in his last eight games has seen Celtic continue to let Rangers back into the title-race up here.
Added to that, however, his hold-up play has gotten worse over the last couple of weeks. It was mostly noticeable against RB Salzburg last Thursday. Edoaurd consistenty ran into their defenders and took the greedy option.
Fan anger at his displays of late is hard to ignore, but Hartson defended the youngster in his Evening Times column.
“He is 20 years old, playing in a foreign land with a record price tag on his back and, I believe, a seriously big talent.
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“I could see how frustrated he was when he dived at Easter Road. It wasn’t even a good dive as he attempted to win a penalty.
“You have to remember that he has scored 13 goals, including the vital winner against RB Leipzig, which is a more than decent return in what his first full season as a pro.”
Despite the supporter criticism, it’s important to remember that this is a breakout year for Edouard. He now has some new-found responsiblity that he isn’t used to, with much of the burden unfair.
With Leigh Griffiths unavailable, Celtic have no alternatives to the Frenchman. He can’t even be afforded time on the bench to get his head straight due to the lack of options available.
Playing too often has clearly affected Edouard negatively. He isn’t getting the appropriate rest-time he needs at his age, and continues to battle through for the club.
Yet, despite his poor recent run of form, Edouard still has 13 goals to his name this season. That’s just four below Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos, who has been praised non-stop this season.
Celtic will of course expect more from him. He’s their record-signing and need him to step up on games like Sunday.
Hartson, however, is spot-on in his assessment. He states that Edouard needs help in the form of two new strikers in January.
Who could argue with that?