Centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has heaped praise on Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy today.
New Hoops assistant Kennedy has certainly come in for criticism from sections of the support over the years. Some don’t see the value or contribution he has on things at Parkhead. But if you ask Ajer, he’s certainly been huge for his own personal development.
Kennedy has now been at Celtic Park as a coach for nine years now. He’s had roles as a scout, youth team manager, first-team coach, and is now number two to Neil Lennon in the bid to spearhead the climax to 10-in-a-row.
And, in a ringing endorsement of the work Kennedy does, Ajer has heaped praise on the Hoops coach. Speaking in the Daily Record, Ajer had the following to say:
“John has been fantastic from the minute I came in. We’ve been working really close together after every single session, working on the defensive part of my game.
“He’s been helping me every single day and he’s been fantastic for me. I’ve not seen clips of him as a player but he keeps telling me that he was fantastic!
“Every time I do something wrong he will show me and, to be fair, he has a great right foot so he shows me how it should be done. Then I try to learn from him. The way he has been teaching me has been fantastic.”
The Celtic assistant manager that takes too much stick
If there’s one thing Kennedy does get at Celtic then it’s too much criticism. Scars from the Ronny Deila era haven’t totally gone away, but there’s a reason the likes of Brendan Rodgers and Lennon think so highly of him.
It’s also important to remember that he was one of the few not to jump ship to Leicester with Rodgers. Sure, some could look at it as opportunism now that he’s the assistant boss. But, the truth is, he likely would’ve been earning a lot more money if he headed off to the Foxes. And for that, he deserves more credit.
There is clearly plenty of work behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Plenty that Kennedy does with individuals and in group sessions. He’s now been coaching for nine years, so he’s no rookie at it.
Players such as Ajer wouldn’t just randomly come out and praise him to make Kennedy look good. It’s clear he’s doing a fine job alongside Lennon so far, and it’s clear he has Celtic firmly in his heart like the rest of us.
With a bit of luck, Kennedy and Lennon can direct us to the 10. If they don’t, that’s when the criticism can start to fly their way.
But for Ajer in particular, it’s clear he wouldn’t be the player he is now without the help of our current assistant boss.