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‘I ENJOY THE PRESSURE,’ BENKOVIC

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FILIP BENKOVIC has admitted he is concentrating 100 per cent on Celtic in the second half of the season.

The Croatian Under-21 international centre-half realises there is still a chance his parent club may recall him from his loan deal at Parkhead during this transfer window.

However, the 6ft-plus defender is fully focused on continuing to make an impact at the Hoops as the team chases eight successive Premiership crowns.

He said: “In this period at Celtic, I feel I’ve improved as a player every day. Here, I have the scope to work on every aspect of my game.

“That’s vital if I want to go on to play at the very top level. I feel good here and that I’m doing a good job.

“Later in my career, when I look back, I want to say I did well at Celtic. I want to know that I worked hard and was very humble during my time in Scotland.

“This will prepare me for the Premier League. Experience is so important for a player because it then makes it easier to deal with certain situations.

“It makes you smarter. But nothing can happen without hard work because I think the Premier League is the No.1 in the world.

“Here, at Celtic, I play with pressure, which is good. But that’s normal for me – I came from a club in Croatia where it was the same.

“I like that, I enjoy the pressure. To me that’s a positive, now and moving forward.

“The last information I had from Leicester was that I am staying at Celtic until the end of the season.

“I enjoy it here, so that’s what I’m focusing on. After that, we will speak and see what’s for the best.

“I’m having fun here and want more of it.”

Benkovic, 21, is also looking forward to next month’s Europa League tussles with Spanish cracks Valencia as Brendan Rodgers’ team attempts to make progress on foreign fields.

He said: “We can’t look too far ahead in the league because we have months of games still to go.

“I said I wanted three medals when I came here and I still feel that way. The mission for any player is to win everything on offer.

“But I can’t wait for the Valencia games because European matches are really special. They don’t come around every week.

“We know how tough it will be for us because Valencia are always near the top of La Liga. It will be a great challenge for us.”

Benkovic, already a firm favourite with the Hoops fans, joined the Midlands outfit from Dinamo Zagreb for £13million in the summer before his loan switch to Parkhead.

He limped off before half-time in the loss at Ibrox in the last action of 2018, but has now recovered fully after the side’s warm weather training camp in Dubai.

The talented back-four operator is likely to be in place when the holders take on League One Airdrie in the first defence of the Scottish Cup at Parkhead on Saturday.

 
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