One interesting aspect of Neil Lennon’s recent team selections has been the selection of Hatem Elhamed. Even with Christopher Jullien fit and available on the bench, Lennon decided to choose Elhamed.
Firstly to replace the injured Nir Bitton against Sarajevo, and then to start against St Johnstone. Maybe a reason for that is because Jullien has only just returned from injury.
Able to play in two positions
However, perhaps another, more important reason, is that Elhamed is a very versatile player. He is able to play at centre-back and right-back. That could allow Neil Lennon to change Celtic’s formation at will.
For example, at the moment, Celtic have been playing in a 3-5-2 system. However, perhaps a situation will arise during a game when the Hoops boss needs to make a formation change.
If the Hoops are wanting to move to a four at the back system for example, Elhamed can easily do that. That would not be easy to do with Jullien, whom the Hoops signed for £7m last season. He is not able to play at right-back. However, he was not signed as a right-back, but as a centre-back.
A good thing for Hoops manager
It is a good thing for Neil Lennon though that he has the personnel to make the changes. Sometimes it pays off to sign players that are able to play in two positions, and recently it has for Elhamed and Celtic.
However, that sometimes means that versatile players don’t get to play each game. That might well be the case when Jullien eventually returns to the Celtic starting line-up.
Still, it is a good option for Celtic to have, two players that are able to play at centre-back, with another one that is able to play at right-back.
Elhamed’s versatility might well see him feature a lot this season, provided he can stay fit. That might mean Jullien could face some more weeks on the bench, but that’s what happens when you have a big squad.