Mercurial Celtic talent Olivier Ntcham has showed his maturity by choosing to put Celtic first, ahead of his current international situation.
The 23-year-old is stuck in a bit of international limbo at present. As is often the case with exciting French youngsters, he is stuck between and rock and a hard place due to being too old for the under-21s but not good enough for the full-team.
Les Bleus’ boss Didier Deschamps can boast midfield talent like Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante so it is perhaps no surprise that Ntcham is yet to get his first full international call-up.
There were reports (Scottish Sun) earlier this month that the former Genoa man was set to switch allegiance to Cameroon. Both of Ntcham’s parents hail from the African country and it was felt that he would have a much better chance of playing regular football for them.
Ntcham wants to put Celtic first
However, the Celtic midfielder says that all talk of a Cameroon switch has been put on hold for now as he aims his focus on getting back into the Celtic first-team.
“I’ve always been thinking about my decision,” he told this week’s Celtic View. (volume 55, issue 20, page 9)
“The Cameroon manager approached me last year about it. We talked and I told him my targets. We spoke again recently when I was preparing for the Europa League games, but I told him international football was not my priority right now because I had to make sure I got back into the Celtic team first.
“Once I do that, then I can think about international football. My parents are both from Cameroon but I’ve never been there myself. I think my parents would be happier if I played with France.”
Ntcham has shown some new found Celtic maturity
The change in Ntcham’s mentality is summed up by those short remarks. It’s not so long ago that the midfielder was practically touting his name around to try and find a new club.
“Celtic has given me a lot. But leaving is the best solution for me to progress,” he said back in July. (Get French Football News)
Now leaving Celtic is the furthest thing from the Frenchman’s mind. He may only have started one of our last ten matches but he’s still keen to get back into Neil Lennon’s plans – and he should be commended for showing that maturity.
The Northern Irishman should be applauded too. From Ntcham’s quotes, it seems that Lennon has given him a new lease of life. A Celtic career that was in real danger of slipping away may now be back on again. Ntcham’s future still looks very bright.