Recent Celtic signing Nat Phillips was an impressive performer as he met the Scottish media for the first time on Wednesday.
The English defender, signed on loan from Liverpool until January, spoke openly about a number of issues at his first press conference. We’ll be covering some of what he had to say throughout the day on the site.
Phillips has arrived at a little bit of a strange time. He almost certainly wouldn’t have been signed had Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh all been fit. Yet their absence made the need for another central defensive option vital.
So, in he has come. He will likely feature in some upcoming Celtic matches. But what about once the injured players return?
“We’ve not gone into that in too much detail,” the 26-year-old said on Wednesday. (Celtic YouTube)
“Obviously the situation at the moment is that there’s a lot of injuries. There is a hole there that hopefully I can fill.
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“We’ve not gone beyond that. It’s just a matter of taking it step by step. I need to get in and play games, get into the rhythm of things and when that comes, maybe there will be a conversation then.
“Ultimately there will be a review in January. I don’t know exactly when the other boys are due to be back in, but we’ve actually not had a conversation about that.”
As supporters, we like to make a lot of where players fit into plans and how their long-term futures look. That’s why there was so much chat about Carter-Vickers and Jota signing permanently from months into their Celtic careers.
The reality is that footballers think a lot more short term. Phillips’ long-term future is likely to be decided by his form over the coming months. If he comes into the side and impresses then he may well keep his place once the missing players return.
That is the clear Celtic plan here: come in and help us immediately and we’ll see how things go. There will always be room for players who are making us a stronger team.
We’re expecting to see him in from the start on Saturday, probably alongside Gustaf Lagerbielke. That would perhaps be harsh on Liam Scales who earned plaudits for his display at Ibrox. Yet, with the Champions League campaign kicking off in a matter of days, we really need to get Phillips up to speed.
Early days, and he’s not even kicked a ball yet, but he seems genuinely happy to be here.