New Celtic signing Liam Shaw is well known to favour the centre-midfield position, but he also has a secondary role that could prove useful to the Hoops.
Neil Lennon confirmed last week that the Bhoys had wrapped up a pre-contract with the Championship youngster [Daily Record]. However, given that he’s only made 19 senior appearances in football, an academy role could look likely.
John Kennedy has stated that he hopes Shaw will follow the path of Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull [Glasgow Times]. But with the competition in the Celtic midfield at the moment, that could be a tough road for him.
Thankfully, however, it turns out Shaw also appears adept in another position – centre-back. Yorkshire Live’s Sheffield Wednesday reporter Dom Howson has been bigging up the new Parkhead talent, and talked up his attributes.
As quoted by the Glasgow Live, Howson said: “Celtic have signed a talented young footballer in Shaw. He has really blossomed in recent months and established himself as a big part of Wednesday’s first-team squad. Is he the finished article? No, but he has bags of potential. He is a genuine all-rounder who can do a little bit of everything.
“He’s a box to box midfielder. Shaw is not afraid to put his foot in but it’s in the final third where he can do damage and make things happen. He is technically very good for his age and will only improve the more matches he gets under his belt.
“He is big, strong, athletic with an eye for a goal. His versatility has come to the fore in recent months. He has acquitted himself well at centre-back and in midfield. He has filled in there (centre-back) on several occasions and not looked out of place.”
Celtic talent Liam Shaw already has an impressive centre-back record
In terms of playing at the heart of the defence, Shaw has featured there on five occasions for Wednesday. In that run, he’s managed three clean sheets against Rochdale, Exeter City, and Derby County respectively [Transfermarkt].
As for of goals conceded, his total stands at three. But two of those came against Premier League outfit Fulham in the EFL Cup. It’s clear that Shaw has some promise in the position, especially given how tall and powerful he looks.
Celtic have had their problems at centre-back this season. Shane Duffy has of course proven that you need more than just physique and power to be a success at Parkhead, however. His loan spell ends in the summer with Kristoffer Ajer also looking a cert to depart.
It remains to be seen if Shaw is utilised in the centre-back position at any stage over the course of pre-season. It potentially gives Celtic the opportunity to develop a long-term partnership between Shaw and Stephen Welsh.
Of course, there’s been no confirmation from Celtic or Lennon that they see him as a natural centre-back. The chances are he’ll remain an out-and-out midfielder and has been signed because of that. The Hoops won’ have signed him because of five performances in defence.
But it does, over the course of his development, open up an interesting opportunity.