Olivier Ntcham's UEFA squad omission opens up more questions about Celtic future

By David Walton

July 19, 2021

Olivier Ntcham’s omission from the UEFA UCL squad to face Midtjylland is a massive blow for him, and questions will undoubtedly be asked about his long-term Celtic future.

Ntcham looked to have taken his first step on the road to redemption at Parkhead. Only last week, Ange Postecoglou stated he was buying into his methods and was ready to turn his Celtic career around [Scottish Sun].

Fast forward a week and he finds himself out of the manager’s plans for our second qualifying round against the Danes.

Postecoglou touched on the reason for the omissions of the likes of Ntcham and Kris Ajer today. Speaking as quoted by Glasgow Live, he said the following:

“I am picking players who are available and have both the physical and mental mindset to play. The ones who aren’t listed are obviously not ready for what we need to encounter tomorrow night. My focus is on the guys who are on that list.

“There are so many moving parts at the moment that I am trying to be as disciplined as I can to focus on what’s in my control because ultimately tomorrow night is the most important thing and I am focusing on people who are contributing to that.”

What has happened to Olivier Ntcham’s Celtic future in the space of one week?

Ntcham’s status is absolutely bemusing. One week ago he was ready to kickstart his Celtic career. One week later he’s left out in the wilderness.

Make no mistake, this can’t be an injury. If that was the case, the manager could’ve very easily come out and confirmed he had picked up a knock. That he was training well and doing all of the right things but was simply unlucky.

Instead, he’s dangled this idea in the air that Ntcham once again isn’t in the right frame of mind. That he potentially isn’t giving 100% and that he isn’t ready for this fixture. Okay, so the manager didn’t go that far in his own comments, but it leads supporters to think that way.

Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

We don’t have the centre-midfield depth to be leaving out a player of Ntcham’s ability. That’s what makes it all the more surprising to see him omitted. He isn’t rumoured to be off like Ajer either, making it even more surprising.

So we’ll see what the short-term future holds for the Frenchman. But regardless of what’s in store, him missing the UEFA squad isn’t a good look.

In other news: Celtic boss dismisses UCL 3QR question; took no interest in the draw