Celtic boss blocks defender’s international exit ahead of crunch games

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has stopped centre back Efe Ambrose from being allowed to join up with Nigeria’s squad for the Olympic Games in Rio, according to the Daily Mail.

The Northern Irishman has very few centre backs fit currently with Charlie Mulgrew unable to play due to his contract dispute, and Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic both injured.

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It means that without Ambrose, Rodgers would be left with just one fit centre half in Erik Sviatchenko going into the crucial Champions League qualifier next month against either Estonia’s Flora Talinn or Gilbratar’s Lincoln Red Imps.

Celtic have been linked with moves for former Liverpool defender Kolo Toure and current Reds players Joe Gomez and Andre Wisdom, but it is unlikely that any deal will be in place before the Hoops’ first competitive match of the season.

Rodgers has therefore chosen to prevent Ambrose from joining  up with Nigeria’s U-23s as one of the team’s three over age players.

Clubs are not under any obligation from FIFA to release players for the Olympics, unlike other international matches.