CELTIC’s Victor Wanyama has been likened to a young Patrick Vieira by Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who has admitted that the Serie A giants are running scared of the Kenyan international.
Ahead of the clubs’ Champions League clash in the last 16, Italian legend Pirlo believes that Wanyama, who can operate in defence or in midfield, will be Celtic’s biggest threat.
Pirlo said: “You need players to step up when you get to the last 16. You need your best players to have great individual games.
“I look at Celtic and the player you think could do that for them is Victor Wanyama.
“His performance in the win over Barcelona was exceptional.”
Wanyama scored the opening goal in Celtic’s shock 2-1 win over the Catalan giants, and has no shortage of admirers, with Neil Lennon slapping a £25 million price tag on the 21-year-old’s head to ward off English Premier League sides Arsenal and Manchester United.
Pirlo and his team-mates have faced Wanyama’s brother, McDonald Mariga, who turns out for Inter Milan, but the 33-year-old feels the younger brother has the skills to worry Juventus.
“There is a calmness about Wanyama where he plays the right pass and does the simple things well under pressure. He has the attributes of a young Patrick Vieira.
“He is big and can be a presence in the middle with his tackling. You can see why big European clubs have shown an interest in him.”
Wanyama’s agent Rob Moore confirmed in October of last year that the player had turned down an improved contract offer from Celtic because several aspects fell short of his expectations. Celtic reportedly turned down an offer for Wanyama during the summer prior to that.