‘Neil Lennon wants me to stay’ - Filip Benkovic open to extending Celtic loan deal

Filip Benkovic has been talking about his Celtic future. Picture: SNS Group
Filip Benkovic has been talking about his Celtic future. Picture: SNS Group
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Filip Benkovic has revealed he’d love to return to Celtic again on loan next season after Brendan Rodgers admitted he could allow him to stay at Parkhead for a further year.

The Croatian defender enjoyed a fine season with the Hoops, but an injury setback and the departure of Rodgers to Leicester City has hampered his progress.

The former Celtic boss said at the weekend he would be willing to allow Benkovic to return again on loan next season because the Foxes currently have four central defenders - Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan and Caglar Soyuncu.

He stressed: “Filip’s situation is one I’ll certainly look at. But there’s no doubt that if I want him to go out on loan again, I’d want him to go to Celtic.”

And the 21-year-old has admitted he would be certainly be open to the idea of staying at Parkhead next season.

Benkovic said: “I read the comments from Brendan Rodgers. At the moment I really do not know what will happen when my loan expires.

“I’ve spoken to the sports director at Leicester and he’s told me everyone at the club will soon sit down and decide what is best for me.

“When Brendan Rodgers left Celtic, he sent me a lot of nice words and told me he was very pleased with my performances.

“Whatever he decides, I will go along with. I have been really pleased with my season at Celtic. Of course, you can always do better, but I have played a lot of games at a very high level.

“Everyone at Celtic has told me they are happy with me.

“I have spoken to Neil Lennon. He told me that he would like me to stay at Celtic for another season.

“I must admit, when I first signed for Celtic, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it has been.

“During my time at Celtic, I have gained great experience. The Scottish Premiership is extremely intense and it was great playing in Europe. It’s helped me a lot.

“I believe this year has helped me prepare for the English Premier League.”

And Benkovic, in an interview in Croatian publication Sportske Novosti, insists he’s desperate to end the season at Celtic on a high.

He said: “If we beat Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final, it will be the first time in history any club has won a treble treble. The fans would love that.

“We had a bit of a celebration after the Aberdeen match where we won the league. We had some fun, but we are waiting for this Final with Hearts.

“If we win that, we will have the biggest celebration. It’s been part of a great year for me.”