This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has hailed the impact that assistant manager John Kennedy has had on his development at the club, as reported by The Daily Record.
Ajer, who started his career as a midfielder at Norwegian club IK Start, has had a long road towards becoming a regular central defensive performer at Celtic but finally looks comfortable in the role.
Now the 21-year-old has paid tribute to the job that Kennedy has done on the training ground with him, a coach who of course once played as a Hoops defender before cruelly having his career cut short by injury.
How does Neil Lennon turn his doubters into believers? The answer lies in the video below…
As quoted by The Daily Record, the Norway international said:
“John has been fantastic from the minute I came in. We’ve been working really close together after every single session, working on the defensive part of my game.
“He’s been helping me every single day and he’s been fantastic for me.
“I’ve not seen clips of him as a player but he keeps telling me that he was fantastic!
“Every time I do something wrong he will show me and, to be fair, he has a great right foot so he shows me how it should be done. Then I try to learn from him.
“He hasn’t mentioned his performance in Barcelona yet but I know he was a great player who injured his knee which was sad.
“But the way he has been teaching me has been fantastic.”
Having made 45 appearances last term, the 2018/19 season was something of a breakthrough one for the youngster and, if he can continue getting regular action, chances are he will only get better.
Former Hoops defender Johan Mjallby claimed in April that the player could follow in the same footsteps of Virgil van Dijk, although he believes he needs to improve his leadership qualities before moving to a bigger league.
That’s certainly a bold claim, but not one entirely without merit considering his composure and maturity at the age of just 21.
If he can continue getting the experience he needs domestically and Europe, the ceiling for the young Norwegian is very high.