Former Celtic player Davie Provan has suggested Neil Lennon will have a real problem with Odsonne Edouard’s potential involvement in the Olympics next year, writing in his regular Scottish Sun column.
France has already qualified for the U23s tournament in Japan after finishing as one of the top four teams during the U21 European Championships.
As one of the bright lights of the current France U21 set-up, Edouard would be in line to be selected.
However, it could have a severe impact on Celtic, with the player potentially missing as many as five European qualifiers, as well as not being well-rested for the most crucial three remaining ties.
Provan doesn’t think Lennon will be that impressed if the Frenchman decides to take part.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “I’m in agreement with Neil Lennon who once said Under-21 football is a waste of time. Makes you wonder what he makes of the possibility of losing Odsonne Edouard for Celtic’s European qualifiers next summer.
“Edouard wants to play for France’s Under-23 Olympic team in Tokyo. If France make the final the striker would miss five Champions League or Europa League qualifiers.
“Lenny should remind Edouard that Celtic pay his wages.”
The Sky Sports pundit is referencing comments made by the Celtic striker recently in which he said the Olympics are something “every sportsman dreams of participating in.” (The Scottish Sun)
It certainly wouldn’t be ideal from our perspective of course. We need Edouard at his best and firing to navigate what will likely be a gruelling gauntlet to make it back to the group stages of a European competition next season.
At the same time, it could be the player’s only ever opportunity to play on such a stage. Given the fact he is not expected to spend the majority of his career at Celtic, it would be harsh to criticise him for being so eager to represent his country.
The Olympics aren’t some small youth tournament. It regularly attracts some of the best young talents in the world. We should relish the opportunity for our prospects to make an impact on the international stage in such a manner.
If nothing else, if this is a problem for us next summer, it’ll mean Edouard will still be at the club and willing to fire in goals for the Hoops!