Celtic supporters are about to find out James Forrest's true role under Ange

By David Walton

June 16, 2022

As we look ahead to the new season, Celtic supporters are set to find out just what role it is James Forrest is going to carry out under Ange Postecoglou.

Indeed, the Hoops boss was happy to ensure Forrest was given a new 3-year contract and explained that it was due to the fact he was his kind of player [Celtic FC].

Forrest was indeed a regular in Ange’s early days before the squad was as strong as it is now. He managed to appear in domestic and European games before a knee injury sidelined him for several months.

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Yet upon coming back into the fold back in November, James found it a struggle to get a regular run in the side despite consistent appearances from the bench.

Forrest, of course, had to watch on as the likes of Liel Abada and Jota asserted themselves as Celtic’s main wide threats. When he came back, it was too big an obstacle for him to overtake either as a regular.

The addition of Daizen Maeda only made the competition even more hectic. Forrest had become a bit-part player.

Ange Postecoglou – does he see James Forrest as a Celtic back-up?

There’s a big question mark even with James staying regarding where he fits into Ange’s plans. Yes, he’s a winger and yes he’ll get minutes. But is he a talent that the manager feels can make himself a genuine starter on a regular basis? Can he displace the likes of Abada and Jota from the starting XI?

Ange has always talked up Forrest’s ability even when he was just returning from injury [Football Scotland]. We never truly got to see a proper battle between him and Abada with the latter being given a head start due to James’ injury woes.

You can see why Forrest is the kind of player the manager likes too. A pacey attacker with plenty of inventiveness, James is happy to come back and do the defensive side of the game too. Not to mention he was posting some impressive numbers before his injury.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But what remains to be seen is where he sits in the Celtic pecking order. Pre-season will give us a fair indication of that and, given Abada has been playing with Israel, there’s a chance there for James to potentially get some friendly minutes in and make an impression before his positional rivals.

It’s going to be absolutely fascinating to see how Forrest emerges under Postecoglou next year. Both Ange and the player will be expecting a big campaign in 2022/23. But whether there’s a capacity for him to overtake Liel or Jota in the team on a regular basis remains to be seen.

We’re about to learn a lot more about Forrest’s true role under Ange in the coming weeks.

In other news, Report: Why Vinicius Souza isn’t certain about a move to Celtic despite UCL football