The potential Celtic selection headache Ange Postecoglou will love to have

By Lewis Laird

August 8, 2022

What a difference a year makes.

Last summer, Celtic were in the middle of a dramatic rebuild as Ange Postecoglou looked to build his squad for the season ahead.

The 56-year-old brought 12 new faces to the club as his new-look side went on to lift the Scottish Premiership and Premier Sports cup.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of course, the 2021/22 campaign didn’t get off to the ideal start for Postecoglou, suffering a defeat on the opening day against Hearts.

However, fast forward a year, and the Celts have made the perfect start to the new season picking up six points from two victories against Aberdeen and Ross County.

There is also a huge difference across the squad, without the majority of players enjoying a full pre-season under the former Socceroos boss, who has plenty of options to work with across the park.

One position that has had a terrific turnaround under the Celtic manager is the centre of defence.

Coming into the job, there were huge concerns surrounding the Bhoys’ back four and their ability to keep the ball out of the net.

The signings of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt helped sure that up, with the Hoops holding the best defensive record in the league.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

However, going into the new campaign, Celtic were facing the prospect of having neither to start our title defence after Starfelt suffered a serious injury on international duty and Carter-Vickers returned to parent side Tottenham.

Of course, one-half of that problem was solved, thanks to the brilliant business completed by the club that saw the American internationalist return to Parkhead on a long-term deal.

But the question still remained; who was going to be his centre-back partner to kick off the season?

Throughout pre-season, Stephen Welsh looked to be the man primed to play in the back four, impressing with his displays across the six friendlies.

The academy graduate also started the season in brilliant fashion, taking his place in the first competitive starting line-up before scoring the opening goal against Aberdeen within the first few minutes.

Despite his positive start, it was more disappointing for Welsh in the second game after he missed out on the trip to Ross County due to illness.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Coming into replace him alongside Carter-Vickers last Saturday was new summer recruit Mortiz Jenz, signed on loan from French Ligue 1 side Lorient.

The German defender matched Welsh’s strong start to the season by also putting in a solid performance, which included a crucial goal to put the Hoops back ahead in the match.

Many fans have been impressed by what they have seen from the former Fulham man in his first pre-season outing and his display against County last weekend.

When you take into consideration that Carl Starfelt also made his return to the bench on Saturday, it now leaves Ange Postecoglou with a potential selection headache heading into the next few games.

Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images

Selection headache will only be seen as a positive by Ange Postecoglou.

To some managers, a selection headache like this may be a problem when it comes to managing their squad.

However, for Ange Postecoglou, it will be a welcomed boost to have those quality options at the centre of defence after a season without that luxury.

Injury issues for one or two of our centre-backs last season would have almost been seen as a disaster. Now, the Celtic manager has options to choose from.

Not only that, but the players he has at his disposal all appear to be at the top of their game and competing for a place in the side.

I am sure we will see all four first-team central defenders share plenty of minutes across the season. But, it must be an exciting time for Postecoglou to potentially have four fit and firing players in that area of the pitch to choose from.

In other news, Report: Celtic interested in international Ligue 1 striker Bamba Dieng.