Brendan Rodgers hails Celtic's '˜amazing' Odsonne Edouard

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers claims that Odsonne Edouard, the forward who is nearing the end of his season-long loan from Paris St Germain, possesses the kind of jaw-dropping natural ability which can draw applause from the coaching staff at Lennoxtown.

Odsonne Edouard celebrates at Ibrox. Picture: SNS.
Odsonne Edouard celebrates at Ibrox. Picture: SNS.

The 20-year-old remains far from the finished article (he has come off the bench more often than he has started for the champions) but Rodgers has no doubt that he will go on to become a star performer.

Consequently, since Celtic are in pole position to prise the player from PSG (there is a clause in the loan contract which allows the Premiership leaders to buy him for a set fee), it would appear nailed on that Edouard will be a Hoops player next season.

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As so often, however, it is not quite as straightforward as that, even though Rodgers concedes there is nothing more the striker needs to do to convince him that he would be a worthy addition to his squad.

“No, I have already seen it,” he said. “Sometimes I use him from the bench and sometimes I start him. He’s the most natural of all our strikers in the way he moves.

“His movement is phenomenal for a young player, how he drifts in and out of space. And then you add his actual speed to get in behind defences.

“It’s very early in his career but, if you measure him coming through at PSG and France, he is a record goal­scorer. He has the ability to score goals; if you look at starts and goals for us, he’s at a really good level.

“But he has had to come here and adapt. He couldn’t speak the language initially but he is working on that and trying his best.

“He trains well every day. He does things on the training ground that amaze me, really. Just with his ability – and he’s tough. He is a tough boy.

“So he’s a really big talent and I’ve always felt, even when he hasn’t played, that he has that talent. Like any young player, there is lots to improve on but he’s a big weapon for us, whether he starts or comes off the bench.”

Rodgers certified that a sale could be triggered if Celtic match PSG’s estimation of his worth contained in the loan agreement but denied the fee is £7 million. Also, coming up with the money would not necessarily guarantee that the move would go ahead.

“Where have you got the figure from? No – it’s not that,” he said. “I’m not telling you what it is, but it’s not that. I’ve said from day dot that I see the player every day and he’s one of the most gifted players I’ve worked with.

“Just because his representatives aren’t running about throwing him to every club under the sun it doesn’t mean he’s not a top player; there’s no propaganda around him, but he’s a top talent.

“He’s settled in well and if we have any chance to do something at the end of the season, then we can look at that. We have to respect he’s a PSG player, though, and not a Celtic player.

“There is a clause in the deal and there’s been an agreement but we would need to trigger the fee. There’s a lot to do in terms of the bigger picture, too. In time we’ll see. He’s a fantastic player and we’ll see between now and the end of the season.”

It could be that other, wealthier clubs have been in contact with Edouard’s representatives or it may simply be that he is, as yet, unsure whether he will progress in the Premiership but fellow Frenchman Olivier Ntcham, 22, has come on in leaps and bounds since Rodgers paid Manchester City £4.5m for him last year.

The midfielder has become a mainstay in the starting XI and Rodgers is certain that there is more to come from him.

“It was just about bedding him in,” said the manager. “When he came in it was about one game a week. You have to remember he played 40 games over two seasons [on loan with] Genoa.

“He’s already almost there in one season here. So that takes time to adapt to and then you add the pressure that comes with playing here to that as well.

“It’s just been about building his way through. He started to recover better during games and be able to go again in the next one.

“Now we’re at a stage of the season where it’s virtually one game a week and he can cope with that really well.

“You see his qualities – and he has no ego. You look at the three midfield players we had when we went down to ten men at Ibrox; Callum McGregor, Scott Brown and Olivier. Their ability to move and run without ego was important. He is a big talent.”