If there’s one thing Olivier Ntcham simply has to keep doing these days, it’s impress Brendan Rodgers.
Last night at Fir Park, he certainly did that despite the 1-1 draw against Motherwell.
Sticking him in an unusual left-wing role, Rodgers clearly saw something the rest of us didn’t with the Frenchman. When you look at Ntcham’s attributes, a left-sided role is surely one of the worst positions for him.
Not blessed with terrific pace and preferring the freedom of the midfield to operate, it was a hard shift for Celtic’s £4million man last night.
Therefore, all credit to him for what was an extremely competent display for 45 minutes. Despite being forced off with a slight knock at half-time, Ntcham did himself no harm in impressing during the first-half.
He showed bursts of pace that we don’t see too often from him. Darting down the left on more than one occasion, we saw his power on full show. He also combined well with the marauding Kieran Tierney down the left-side.
A natural left-winger?
Despite being in a position unfamiliar to him as far as we’re all aware, he took to it naturally. He never hid on the night and was always looking for the ball when Tierney had it in particular.
Considering the performances of Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor in the engine room, Ntcham is going to struggle to get back in there. Added to that, Scott Brown is back and it’s surely only a matter of time before Rodgers has him starting every game again.
What that means for Ntcham is that he has to impress regardless of where he plays. He may not even play many games in his preferred box-to-box role this season at all. If he shows he’s competent enough to play down the left, however, then that’s a huge positive for Celtic.
Their play halted to an extent in the second half after Scott Sinclair came on for him. They didn’t have the same drive down the left, and Sinclair’s ball-retention was a lot worse than his French team-mate’s.
In a midfield full of talent, Ntcham needs to start impressing on the rare occasions he starts games. Last night, in an odd position, he most certainly did that.