KRISTOFFER AJER believes “this may be his best season,” despite a wretched campaign for Celtic.
The skyscraper Norwegian international defender has been literally head and shoulders above his team-mates with his consistency in the back-four.
Ajer’s versatility has been a key factor with his switches from the middle of the rearguard to help out at right-back and his performances have been a bright spot in a dark period for the faltering champions.
The 22-year-old star, who was brought to Glasgow by fellow-countryman Ronny Deila five years ago for a bargain fee of £750,000 from FK Start, has been urged to quit the Hoops by his new international boss Stale Solbakken, as CQN reported yesterday.
ON THE BALL…Kristoffer Ajer in control.
Ajer, who is under contract until June 2022, us steadfastly refusing to make any comment on his future and, instead, is concentrating on doing his best to help the club through to the end of a testing season while the Scottish Cup grabs is still up for grabs.
It was the powerhouse back-four operator who walloped the deciding penalty-kick beyond former team-mate Craig Gordon as Neil Lennon picked up his last silverware as Celtic manager in the shoot-out success against Hearts in the national competition at Hampden five days before Christmas.
He is currently with his international squad as they prepare for World Cup qualifiers, but focused on club football when he admitted: “When you play for Celtic and the expectations are that you will win trophies, it is difficult to focus on individual achievements.
“But if I am only to look at my performances, it may have been my best season at the club.
“At least, this is the year I have developed the most. Where I feel I have taken the biggest step is that I make wiser choices defensively.
“I used time to go through all the clips and all the matches I had played. I wanted to see what I needed to get better at.”
FACE OF A WINNER…Kristoffer Ajer after smashing home the decisive penalty-kick in the Scottish Cup Final triumph.
Ajer, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Then I discovered that there was something I had to improve. I could get too hot. You gain very little by throwing yourself down very early. With the speed I have, it is very rare that I need to throw myself into situations.
“Now I stand on my feet more often and make better choices.
“It’s better in the long run. It has made me feel more in control. I feel I have taken great strides.”
Ajer has been linked with Serie A giants AC Milan since last summer and there is still speculation that he will be leaving Parkhead during a summer of upheaval.
In the meantime, let’s hope he can still play a key role in bringing silverware to the club before the final whistle on a season that hasn’t gone according to plan so far.