Wednesday 18 September 2019

'Standout' Celtic were team for me - Afolabi

Jonathan Afolabi. Photo: Sportsfile
Jonathan Afolabi. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Irish striker Jonathan Afolabi says Celtic's reputation for promoting youth inspired his decision to pick the Hoops over options in England and further afield.

Afolabi was released by Southampton at the beginning of the summer and was training with League of Ireland clubs before a starring display at the European U-19 Championships opened doors.

He was voted on to the Team of the Tournament by UEFA and was left with a range of offers to choose from.

Afolabi opted for a three-year deal with the Scottish champions.

"Celtic is just a standout team for me," he said. "And they have a great reputation for bringing youngsters from the academy through the ranks. This is a great club, with a great history, and a great place for me to be."

"With such a talented pool of players, it's going to take time and hard work to break in."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon said over the weekend that Afolabi was on the cusp of first-team involvement.

He will likely start off with their development team where he will link up with Irish underage colleague Luca Connell. The Liverpudlian actually missed out on those U-19 finals in Armenia after completing his switch from Bolton to Celtic.

Celtic, meanwhile, host AIK Stockholm tonight in the Europa League play-off after being dumped out of the Champions League last week with Lennon trying to stay positive.

"I can't control that but there has been a little bit of hysteria at times," said Lennon of the reaction to the Cluj defeat. "That is the environment you're in in Glasgow sometimes."

Irish Independent

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