Jota named in provisional Portugal squad as Celtic's World Cup hopefuls now stand at nine

Celtic forward Jota has been named in Portugal’s provisional squad for the World Cup.
Celtic forward Jota is hoping to reach the World Cup with Portugal.Celtic forward Jota is hoping to reach the World Cup with Portugal.
Celtic forward Jota is hoping to reach the World Cup with Portugal.

The 23-year-old has never been capped by his country, but national coach Fernando Santos has included the ex-Benfica player in his 55-man interim group.

Jota has been in excellent form for Celtic this season after making last season’s loan move to the defending Premiership champions permanent in the summer, scoring five goals and recording five assists. He has missed Celtic’s past four matches due to injury but is in contention to make a return in Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk.

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Capped 18 times by Portugal Under-21s, Jota has never been involved in the full Portugal squad and while he faces a battle to make the final cut for Qatar when the squad is slashed down to 26 players on Thursday, November 10, he will be watched closely by Santos in the next few weeks. Jota’s chances are enhanced as Portugal are without one of their main forwards in Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, who was ruled out of the tournament by injury last week. Portugal’s other forwards include RB Leipzig’s Andre Silva, Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, AC Milan’s Rafael Leao, Wolves players Daniel Podence and Goncalo Guedes and Sporting CP duo Francisco Trincao and Paulinho.

Celtic are expected to have a clutch of players at the World Cup, with Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate (all Japan), Cameron Carter-Vickers (USA), Aaron Mooy (Australia), Oliver Abildgaard, Matt O’Riley (both Denmark) and Josip Juranovic (Croatia) hoping to be involved in the competition.

Portugal are in a group with Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea and are expected to reach the knock-out stages of the tournament.