Luca Connell loan move is ideal; but Celtic fans concerned with player's development path
Luca Connell and his Celtic departure today was good news for the player’s immediate development, but it definitely comes with concerns.
The Hoops announced that the young Irishman would be joining Queen’s Park for the final three months of the season on loan. He’ll be joined by youth goalkeeping prospect Ryan Mullen.
The move is great for the pair and their opportunity to get senior game-time for the final few months of the campaign. But in Connell’s case, it opens up some serious questions.
When Celtic signed the Republic of Ireland under-19 international back in 2019, he had been playing regularly for Bolton Wanderers in the Championship. In fact, he had as many as 12 appearances for them when he signed on at Parkhead [Transfermarkt].
Granted, it was never going to be an instant integration into the first-team. But fast forward two years, and Connell has simply stagnated as he gets set to turn 20 next month.
He’s watched on as the likes of Liam Hughes, Liam Morrison, and Barry Hepburn have jumped ship. With exciting prospects such as Karomoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex also seeing their contracts expire this summer with no sign of an extension, the youth squad exodus looks set to continue.
No senior experience for Luca Connell in too long; Celtic fans right to be concerned
As well as that, Connell has seen team-mates such as Jonathan Afolabi and Lee O’Connor bag loan moves. Opportunities provided to them that Luca could’ve desperately used to get more experience of the senior game.
Even when he was given an opportunity to impress the Hoops fans in friendly matches, he did so before being forgotten about. He was one of the stars of the show against Hibernian in our final pre-season friendly at Parkhead last summer.
But when it comes to competitive action, he’s been nowhere near it. He hasn’t played a competitive senior league game in two years. And going from the English Championship to the Scottish League Two is also a red flag.
He’ll make an impact with Queen’s Park and will also get experience of fighting at the top end of the table. But it doesn’t feel right that this is where Luca is at almost two years after signing for the club.
And that’s a view many supporters have shared as they react to his Lennoxtown departure today. Here’s a look at some of the opinions going around:
— Steven (@Kenz_i3) March 18, 2021
O’Connell should be at least getting some game time at Celtic now..Another crazy decision letting him go
— .Bufford T justice🇮🇪🏴🇨🇦 (@penecelt) March 18, 2021
The more and more you hear and see of these players being put out on loan, the more and more you think about who scouted and signed them? Was it Lawwell? The club's recruitment is nothing short of woeful.
— Palma Bhoy (@Palma_Bhoy) March 18, 2021
Luca Connell was playing in the English Championship when we signed him. Nearly 2 years and 0 first team games later he's out on loan in League 2. No wonder our young players are leaving when this is whats considered youth development at Celtic just now. https://t.co/tjLPAgg2W4
— Paul G (@weepaul7) March 18, 2021
What is the point in us loaning out Luca Connell? He’s barely been given a chance to prove his worth, and when he has been given a chance he always looks decent. Should’ve kept him and started him in the meaningless games we have coming up.
— Ryan 🍀🏴 (@RyanW_67) March 18, 2021
Luca Connell is 20 next month. Jude Bellingham has just been called up to the full England squad. Bellingham has been a regular for Dortmund in the Bundesliga. He has also played Champions League football. Bellingham is not 18 until June.
That’s the problem at Celtic…
— John Gerard Collins (@collinsjg57) March 18, 2021
Why not just give luca Connell a run in the team, he’s looked good whenever he’s featured and the games we have left are more or less meaningless
— Danny (@dconnick3) March 18, 2021
From English championship to Scots league 2 some development plan that. Club is a joke. Sort it out.
— Southdownbhoy (@southdownbhoy11) March 18, 2021