Christopher Jullien can play pivotal leadership role for Celtic next season

By David Walton

June 14, 2021

As Christopher Jullien prepares to return from injury this summer, he should very much be in contention to be the new vice-captain.

Celtic have still to officially decide who their permanent captain is. Now that Scott Brown has departed for Aberdeen, the mantle, for now, has fallen to Callum McGregor.

It remains to be seen if new manager Ange Postecoglou decides to bring in a captain of his own. Personally, however, I’ve never been particularly keen on signing players and immediately making them the dressing-room leader.

I think it’s best when your leaders come from those who have longevity with the football club. A player the rest of the dressing room both respects and gets on with. When Brown became Celtic captain, he had already been at the club for two-and-a-half years. There was an understanding there.

So it seems natural to give McGregor the armband, and he’s shown he deserves it this season. Not for his on-field performances of course. Nobody can say they merit the Celtic captaincy based on what they showed this season. But he’s always been the first player directing instructions on the pitch and the first to tackle difficult media interviews both in-house and with the press.

He’s put himself out there when criticism has been fired in the direction of the club. So it’s only natural he should be given the chance to show he’s captain-like material.

Christopher Jullien for vice-captain seems a reasonable choice

So who then takes McGregor’s vice-captaincy tag? Naturally it should be Kristoffer Ajer, but he seems certain to depart. So, for me, it should fall to Jullien.

The Frenchman has been part of some big battles for the club over his first two years at Parkhead. He’s already a treble-winner and has been a solid signing since arriving from Toulouse in the summer of 2019.

More importantly, he’s constantly organising the defence and those in front of him when he’s on the field. Next time he’s in action for Celtic, watch how much he points or tries to get the attention of team-mates. He’s been a leader without the armband over the last two campaigns.

He’s also one of the most mature players we’ve got at the club. At 28, he has to be considered one of the more senior stars. His long-term future also remains at Parkhead which is a big help. There are no signs of Chris going anywhere.

Celtic defender Christopher Jullien / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In the past, he also captained Toulouse on several occasions when they were in Ligue 1. He was seen as a leader back in France, which is likely part of the reason he was signed in the first place.

It’s not as if he has much competition for the vice-captaincy either. James Forrest doesn’t have the traits to be an on-field leader as such, same goes for Ryan Christie. David Turnbull, meanwhile, still has some way to go before he merits the tag.

So for now, Jullien is the right choice. He represents stability, has previous experience of being a captain, and is a constant leader on the pitch in any case. It’s time to give him a tag that represents that.

In other news, this Celtic star deserves a chance to prove he can be the club’s new plan B.