Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has been handed a major boost regarding Christopher Jullien’s long-awaited return from injury.
According to a report by Football Insider, the centre-back is still progressing well in his recovery from a cruciate ligament rupture suffered last December and could be back in first-team action for Celtic before the end of the month.
Speaking to Celtic TV before the international break, Postecoglou revealed that the 28-year-old is set to resume full training next week, while the former Aberdeen centre-forward Noel Whelan stated his belief in a recent interview with Football Insider that the Frenchman’s return to the Celtic starting XI will come as a major boost to the 56-year-old manager.
In his comments, Whelan said: “Celtic are lacking in height and physicality. When you’ve got someone like Jullien back in the side, who is a good six-foot-five, then that will help with their ability to defend set-piece situations.
“He’s been at the club a long time and he’s been one of the most consistent centre-halves when he’s played. I think he’ll be like a new signing; he will add real quality to that Celtic side.
“If he’s up to speed then he has to be starting – he’s a leader, a talker. They’ve gone out and got new centre-halves in but they haven’t quite compared to Jullien’s track record. The competition for places in that position will only make Celtic even stronger.”
Considering the fact that Celtic have already suffered defeat on three separate occasions in the Scottish Premiership this season, as well as conceding six goals over their eight league fixtures, the news that Jullien is nearing a return to action is sure to have left Postecoglou buzzing.
Indeed, while the £4.95m-rated man has hardly featured for the Bhoys over the past 12 months, the defender proved in his nine Premiership appearances last season that he is an integral part of the Celtic backline.
Over these fixtures, the 28-year-old scored one goal, registered one assist and helped his side keep five clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.2 interceptions, 1.2 tackles, 3.6 clearances and winning 6.9 duels per game.
These returns saw the £15k-per-week centre-back average a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.43, ranking him as the Hoops’ second-best performer in the league last term – albeit with a limited sample size of fixtures.
As such, the return of Jullien certainly looks as if it will see Celtic become much more solid at the back, something that has been desperately lacking under Postecoglou so far this season.