Neil Lennon explains Celtic plans for Jonathan Afolabi

By John McGinley

August 18, 2019

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has dampened expectations of new signing Jonathan Afolabi making an instant impact in the first-team, The Scottish Sun report.

Lennon confirmed on Saturday the teenage attacker has signed for the Hoops on a two-year deal.

The player was released by Southampton earlier this summer, so arrives as a free transfer.

He very much looks to be a development signing that will take time to get up to the required standard.

The manager has stated he is ‘on the cusp’ when it comes to the first-team, but will train with the squad over the next few weeks to be assessed.

(Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Lennon said: “He’s on the cusp, so he’ll come in and train with us and we’ll get a good look at him in the next couple of weeks.

“Then we’ll decide what we want to do with him in terms of where his progression is.

“He had a great tournament in the Euros. He’s raw, but we feel he has good potential.”

What’s he capable of?

Afolabi is still just 19 and has had no experience of senior football so far in his career. It’s no surprise he won’t be rushed into action at Celtic Park. Having been developed primarily as a central striker, the player is also capable of playing on the left flank.

The highest age group he’s played at is with Southampton’s U23s side, where he scored nine goals and assisted six in 36 appearances (Transfermarkt).

(Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

He did catch the eye at the U19s Euros as Lennon notes. The attacker netted one of the goals that sent the Republic of Ireland through to the semi-finals.

With Luca Connell and Barry Coffey also in the Celtic squad, Afolabi has a couple of international teammates he already knows well.

It appears we shouldn’t expect too much of him this season. That’s especially true with the abundance of attacking options in the squad as it is.