Pat Bonner states Chris Jullien will need to wait until next season for Celtic opportunity

By David Walton

March 16, 2022

Pat Bonner has stated his belief that Celtic centre-back Christopher Jullien will need to wait until next season before he gets regular competitive minutes under his belt.

Jullien has back available for Ange Postecoglou for much of 2022. It comes after suffering ligament damage that kept the Frenchman out for over a year. Now, he’s returned to the fold with a new manager and new set of team-mates in the door.

More importantly, he’s behind Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt in the pecking order. Therefore, Jullien has only managed to rack up 1 cameo appearance since his return to action. The former Toulouse star hasn’t even been involved in every matchday squad either, with Ange stating that he now just has to be patient.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

But Bonner believes the player isn’t ready to come right back into the starting line-up yet. He’s stated on BBC Sportsound that he’ll have to wait until the summer before he can start making his mark:

“No, he’s not ready. I don’t think he will be ready until he gets a run of games somehow, and I don’t know how they get a run of games now. It’ll need to be in the close-season when he’s getting some competitive games.

“I wouldn’t call the competitive as in league, but just competitive friendly games. You need to get those to get your match-fitness up.”

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Christopher Jullien likely won’t return to Celtic starting XI before the summer

It sounds harsh, but the truth is that we just don’t need Jullien as much as we did 6 months ago. Therefore, it puts us in an odd situation given we’ve been waiting so long for him to return only for it not to be as important to our cause as it previously would’ve been.

Neither Starfelt nor Carter-Vickers can be dropped anymore. Not at this stage of the season when we have such an intense run-in ahead of us. If Ange makes a change to his backline and we start conceding goals, it’s the first thing critics will point to.

The truth is that Jullien just isn’t a first-choice. The same as Stephen Welsh isn’t a first-choice and has to wait patiently for his opportunity.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The summer will be a different story. Carter-Vickers isn’t guaranteed to stay on beyond then for a start. So that will provide Jullien with an opportunity to step up and show Postecoglou in pre-season friendly matches that he can pick up the mantle.

It’s not even certain at the moment that Jullien would come straight in if CCV or Starfelt picked up a knock. Chances are that responsibility would fall on the shoulders of Nir Bitton or Welsh respectively. You still feel that Jullien has plenty to prove to Ange.

But the time isn’t right to call for his return into the starting line-up. And it won’t be right until the current season is done and dusted.

In other news, Celtic players discussed performance dip in-house; have now rectified it