With the arrival of Marvin Compper all four of Celtic’s central defenders will feel an increase in pressure to make the starting line-up. Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko may already have other places on his mind but neither Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer will know where they fit in the manager’s plans.
Ajer (19) fits our style of play better than any of the existing options. So much of our play depends on the central defenders being able to control a quick pass, move it on, or run with the ball. Boyata and Simunovic accomplished this well away to Anderlecht, but their movement, first touch and composure on the ball has dipped well below that level.
I have some concerns about Ajer defending. He has not been tested rigorously and I have noticed a tendency to allow strikers to drift into space, so we should be cautious about putting too much responsibility onto his shoulders.
What is clear is that we play better football and are a better team with him in the side. That alone is enough to merit keeping his place.