12 goals, 7 assists – Rodgers’ decision to reject £14m European interest in Celtic star might reap rich rewards

Why Celtic did a fantastic job by keeping hold of Olivier Ntcham

Olivier Ntcham proved to be the hero in the late win for Celtic as they defeated traditional rivals Rangers at Celtic Park on Sunday.

Celtic dominated the proceedings and eventually got their goal when Ntcham completed a swift counter-attacking move upfield and tucked the ball past the onrushing Allan McGregor.

Ntcham, 22, had attracted a lot of interest from Portuguese champions FC Porto in the summer transfer window. Porto were willing to pay £14m for the French midfielder but Celtic slapped a ‘not for sale’ sign on Ntcham, reports the Daily Mail.

The Bhoys were keen to hold onto their star players and while they failed to retain the services of Moussa Dembele, Brendan Rodgers managed to keep hold of Ntcham.

Rodgers signed Ntcham from Manchester City last season and the Frenchman seamlessly slotted into his plans, scoring 12 goals and providing 7 assists in 58 games in all competitions. He was an instrumental figure in Celtic’s completion of double-treble last term and has started this season from where he left last season.

In just a year, Ntcham has grown into an indispensable figure for Rodgers’ Celtic side. He brings a lot of energy in the middle of the park and adds a different dimension to the side with his combative style of play.

The Frenchman has strong holding traits, drags opponents to create space for his teammates, is clinical while tackling, provides defensive contribution and reads the game well.

In a nutshell, Ntcham is Celtic’s midfield powerhouse. Alongside skipper Scott Brown, Ntcham exudes calmness and brings a lot of stability in the middle of the park. He dictates play, stands firm in the midfield and tries to block the passing channels.

In possession, Ntcham is very steady, has a sound technique with the ball and is a constant threat in the opposition box. He may not be a regular goalscorer but there’s a lot more he brings to the team.

Plenty of players put in excellent displays against Rangers on Sunday but Ntcham was clearly on a different level altogether. Apart from his well-taken goal, he put in a classy show in the middle of the park, with his deal-ball delivery being top-notch.

For the amount of work rate and the tackling edge he provides, Rodgers has done a wonderful job by keeping hold of Ntcham. The Frenchman, who is a tireless worker both on and off the ball, has a great right foot, which is capable of producing thunderous shots.

Read more: Brilliant Ntcham, Fantastic Forrest – The best and the worst Celtic stars vs Rangers

At 22, Ntcham is still far from being the finished product but he is developing at a swift rate under Rodgers, which certainly augurs well at Parkhead.

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