RONNY DEILA is back and straight away he’s in the thick of it, defending the club and putting people straight on what has and has not happened when he was in the Canaries sunning himself. First up James Forrest, who was this morning linked to a move to cash strapped Bolton, managed by ex-Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
Ronny, who has worked hard to get Forrest fit and to keep him fit, clearly doesn’t see that move happening and he is keen to keep the player in his squad. The tanned and relaxed Norwegian said: “He is going to stay here. Why go to Bolton when he is at Celtic?’
Maybe that’s a question Neil Lennon has asked himself.
Ronny continued: “James Forrest is a very important player for us and we want to keep him here at Celtic. We’ve got him to a level that we can start working to make him even better.
“He’s been injury free for six months now and he’s getting more consistency in his play. We expect more this season than we did last season from him because of the way with his injuries.
“I think it’s a big season for him and for everybody. I’m delighted for him because he is also a good boy and it’s good working with him.
“I feel very sorry for him, having been in and out [of the team]for four years. Now hopefully he can continue in terms of consistency.
“Everybody knows what kind of potential he has but to talk about potential isn’t something that he wants. We want to talk about performances on the pitch and that’s what we’re going to work on now.
“We want to get James up to the level that he can reach.”
Forrest has always been highly rated within the club and if you recall when the player was getting some stick on CQN Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace urged the support to get behind Forrest as much a possible as he believed that James Forrest had the potential to be a really top player. Who were we to argue?
Moving onto another Celtic player linked to a move to England, Ronny also had something to say on Virgil Van Dijk’s future at the club.
Paul on CQN has reported that the club have an agreement with the player to listen to offers IF a top English side comes in for the player. This week the speculation has centered around interest from Norwich City and Sunderland, teams that hardly fit the agreed criteria.
“I have spoken to Virgil,” said Deila. “He’s very motivated to continue at Celtic and he’s enjoying being here every day.
“He’s a very important player for us and his biggest task is to get us into the Champions League, together with the rest of us.
“I know he’s going to be very motivated for that and I’ve been very clear to him and to everybody else that he is going to stay here for those qualifiers and that is going to happen.
And Ronny confirmed that as yet there had been no bids for the central defender, described by John Collins at the weekend as the best in Europe.
“There’s nothing that I’m aware of” said Deila. “It’s a lot of talking and we have to be focused on the pitch.”
And the Celtic manager has no worries about the big Dutchman losing focus due to the transfer speculation.
“I’m very clear that he won’t.” Ronny said. “It’s one of the most important things I’m coming with: you learn through experience. He’s one year older and hopefully one year brighter and more experienced.
“He knows that it’s what we do on the pitch that ‘s the most important thing.”