Neil Lennon admits it's difficult to bench Olivier Ntcham

By Hamish Carton

August 13, 2019

Celtic boss Neil Lennon admits it is often difficult to leave Olivier Ntcham out of the first-team.

The Frenchman has leaped back onto the scene at Celtic after a turbulent few summer months. Ntcham has been impressive pretty much whenever he’s featured for Lennon’s side, and he was one of the standouts in the weekend rout of Motherwell.

The Northern Irishman knows what he’s got with the 23-year-old, and he just hopes he can spur him into finding a consistent level of performance.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

“He’s a beautifully balanced footballer, he’s training really well, he seems happy and settled,” Lennon told the Scottish Sun. “We just want more of the same because we’ve got a helluva player there.

“He’s got real flair about him and ability. You saw that as the game wore on last Saturday.

“At times he’s too good a player to leave out and he just needs to be consistent now.”

(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Lennon has a dilemma about Ntcham every match

Lennon’s comments about Ntcham being difficult to leave out are fair, but very interesting. The Frenchman is a mercurial talent who gives us something that no other player in the midfield does.

However, you could also say the same about the other three players vying for starting spots in the middle of the park. Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie could all be considered undroppable when they are at their best.

(Photo by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It opens up an interesting dynamic for the rest of the season. Lennon only really has room for three midfielders in the formation he’s playing so at least one key player will be left unhappy every match.

One positive is that Celtic play that many games that there are always likely to be opportunities for gametime. We played 63 matches in all competitions last season and you wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar tally this time around. If we have four top options in the midfield then it means the likes of Callum McGregor and Scott Brown aren’t likely to play every single match like in previous seasons.

That can only be a good thing for everyone concerned.