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Celtic: Eddie Howe can improve Stephen Welsh considerably

If and when Celtic finally announce the appointment of a new manager, the man in charge will walk into a football club that is in dire straits.

The Hoops have lost their dominance on Scottish football and Parkhead will have no trophy from the 2020/21 season to celebrate.

They will also have to manage a massive rebuild of the playing squad. Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard are two potentially high profile exits while there will be a leadership void when Scott Brown heads to Aberdeen.

Leigh Griffiths could also leave while Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie have been linked with exits.

Consider Jonjoe Kenny, Moi Elyounoussi, Diego Laxalt and Shane Duffy will have to return to their parent clubs and the squad will be depleted.

If the new manager is Eddie Howe he needs to build his team around a very certain set of players. One player he simply has to unleash is Stephen Welsh.

Should Welsh be part of Celtic's future?

Of course

Of course

No thanks

No thanks

With Ajer potentially heading for the departure lounge, the 21-year-old has the opportunity to become the real focal point of a much-maligned defence.

They have been a disaster this season and if anything sums that up it would be their 4-1 defeat to Rangers last weekend.

Welsh wasn’t at his best during that game. He was turned inside out by a 38-year-old Jermain Defoe late on as the Englishman rolled back the years to score their final goal.

It was a moment to forget for the young centre-half but it’s crucial to keep in mind just how inexperienced he still is. Give Welsh a manager who can grow young players and he could become a real star at Paradise.

After all, the 6 foot 3 brute has already negotiated one of the toughest tests in world football; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

After featuring in the Europa League earlier this term, Welsh commented: “In the European games, the quality you come up against is world-class.”

The Scot added: “You look at Ibrahimovic, he is a brilliant player, he doesn’t move a lot but the quality shines through in the end.”

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We'll start with an easier one, who is this Celtic academy player?

This has been a breakthrough campaign for the youngster but unfortunately, it will be one he is keen to eradicate from his mind swiftly.

Fortunately, the arrival of Howe could be game-changing. After all, you only need to look at the way the 43-year-old developed Nathan Ake at Bournemouth.

Ake signed for the Cherries on an initial loan deal before he was snapped up by Howe in a whopping £20m deal from Chelsea.

The Dutchman went on to play 121 times under Celtic’s potential new manager and he credits much of his development at centre-back for what Howe did with him.

Speaking in 2019, Ake said: “Even if you have a few good games, stuff like that, he makes sure that we watch clips together and look for little, little things – even if I’d had a good game – he will find something to help me get better.

“That’s perfect for me because, at my age, there’s still so much more to come and he’s the right man to help me improve.”

The defender is still particularly young but it was the guidance and tuition he received from Howe that ultimately made him a player that Manchester City wanted to spend £40m on last summer.

It would be quite something if Welsh was ever worth that much but the player and manager could forge a special bond if he finally pens terms in Glasgow.

Howe has repeatedly shown himself to be a developer of young talent and so with that in mind, he must unshackle and find a way to make Welsh better.

He has a first-class attitude and will give his all for the club, a trait that plenty in the squad certainly doesn’t possess right now. “He can give it out, he competes for everything, and when it doesn’t go his way, he takes that well too. He gets back up on his feet and he’s ready to go again,” Chris Sutton once recalled.

Given how poor the Hoops have been this season from a defensive point of view it will undoubtedly serve the manager’s best interests to play him.

AND in other news, Celtic set for huge boost as Lennoxtown news emerges, McKay & Desmond will be buzzing…

Article title: Celtic: Eddie Howe can improve Stephen Welsh considerably

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