Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes ‘highly gifted’ Olivier Ntcham’s physical attributes can play a key part in their European campaign this season as the Hoops fly to Belfast for their opening Champions League qualifier against Linfield.
The France Under-21 international was left behind in Glasgow to work on his fitness, but Rodgers expects him to play a vital role this season following his reported from Manchester City.
Ntcham, who has been on loan with Serie A side Genoa for two seasons, described himself as a ‘powerful’ player after signing on Wednesday.
Rodgers told Celtic’s official website: “I felt that, especially for the higher level, the speed and the power of the game involved is now very apparent, having worked there and having worked with players at that level.
“To make progress over the next couple of seasons, particularly at the European level, it is important for us to have those physical attributes in there.
“Olivier is a player I have been looking at for near on eight months now, so I was aware of him in the second half of last season and before that.”
Rodgers praised Ntcham’s technical qualities, claiming he can succeed at the highest level.
“He’s a player I always felt could work well for us. He has everything: he’s 21 years of age, he’s got a little bit of experience in playing senior football, but now he really needs that opportunity to go and flourish,” the 44-year-old added.
“Technically, he’s very gifted and, tactically, he understands the game at a good level. He has many different technical qualities – he can pass, he can dribble and he can shoot. He’s highly gifted. Physically he has everything – he is powerful, quick and good in the duel.
“Mentally, it’s just a case of him taking the next steps in his career, coming to play at a huge club with big demands and opportunity to play in the Champions League. For us, it’s a very big signing.”