3 fringe players who will be looking to take an early advantage in pre-season

By Lewis Laird

June 28, 2022

Celtic are finally back.

Yesterday afternoon, Ange Postecoglou and his players made their return to the Celtic training ground, starting preparations for the 2022/23 campaign.

The Celtic manager will be keen to get to work across the next five weeks as the Hoops look to defend their Scottish Premiership title.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

After ending the season off strongly, some members of Postecoglou’s squad enjoyed a successful international break and will be buzzing to get going for pre-season.

Whilst much of the double-winning squad remains the same, we have seen some departures, with the likes of Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic moving on to new challenges.

Along with potentially replacing the departing duo, Postecoglou will be looking to add more reinforcements to his side with another busy year ahead.

However, the early stages of pre-season could provide some of the fringe players currently at the club with an opportunity to show their worth.

Here are three players who will be looking to take advantage of the openings within the squad over the next week.

James Forrest

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The past two years have been an extremely frustrating time for the Celtic winger after suffering from several injury issues.

Despite that, the Celtic manager has already shown his faith in the 30-year-old, handing Forrest a new three-year deal, and he will be hoping to kick on and show his worth during the early stages of pre-season.

The academy graduate has some competition ahead of him, with Jota, Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda occupying the wide areas last season.

However, we are still awaiting Jota’s return, and both Abada & Maeda spent time on international duty, meaning they will return later than the veteran winger.

So, Forrest is likely to have the chance to prove why he can be a key contributor this coming season.

Christopher Jullien

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Jullien is another player who has suffered from his fair share of fitness issues. After 18 months out through a serious knee injury, the Frenchman made his return to training last January.

But, the defender only made one appearance for Ange Postecoglou’s side and failed to break up the partnership between Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Coming into the final year of his contract at Parkhead, many fans felt that Jullien’s time at Celtic might have been coming to an end.

However, the 29-year-old is reportedly keen to remain at the club and fight for his place in the side [Daily Record].

The duo of Starfelt and Carter-Vickers were another pairing who were out on international duty earlier this month. So, if Jullien is hungry to earn a place in the manager’s plan, the early stages of pre-season are the ideal springboard for him to kick on.

Yosuke Ideguchi

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After arriving from the J-League in January, alongside Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda, much was expected of the Japanese internationalist.

Due to several different factors, the sitting midfielder hasn’t been able to have the same impact as his fellow countryman.

There have been some impressive early signs from Ideguchi, though, with Postecoglou praising the 25-year-old’s work rate and effort in training.

The Celtic manager has also talked up the potential impact of Ideguchi next season, who could become a consistent member of the squad.

With the openings in midfield, now is the perfect chance for the former Gamba Osaka man to get his Celtic career started, and hopefully, we are able to see his impact over the next few weeks.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of course, these three players aren’t the only ones who have the potential to break into the Celtic side, and there will be plenty of players vying for positions.

It should be a productive few weeks for the staff at Celtic, with plenty of competition heading into the new campaign.

In other news, Atletico Madrid president makes transfer admission which may benefit Celtic amidst Juranovic rumours.