Odsonne Edouard ‘one of best strikers I’ve ever worked with says Celtic’s Neil Lennon

Manager braced for interest in goal hero but hopeful of staving off any admirers

Edouard is greeted by Neil Lennon after being subbed. Picture: SNS.
Edouard is greeted by Neil Lennon after being subbed. Picture: SNS.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hailed Odsonne Edouard as one of the best strikers he has worked with in his career and believes there is certain to be interest in the 22-year-old during the current transfer window. Edouard bagged a hat-trick as Celtic opened their bid for a record-breaking tenth consecutive Scottish league title with a 5-1 defeat of Hamilton Accies at Parkhead.

The former Paris Saint-Germain player, who has two years left on his contract with the Scottish champions, has been linked with a number of clubs including English Premier League trio Arsenal, Everton and Leicester City.

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“We can’t help that, it’s inevitable,” said Lennon. “But we’ll try to stave off any admirers.

“I’m sure there are plenty out there, but we love having him here and I’m sure he’s enjoying it.

“I’ve worked with great strikers. It’s too early to say if he’s the best. I think he’s got the potential to be anything he wants to be really.

“His all-round game, he’s a fantastic player. I’ve worked with all different types. Gary Hooper was a great goalscorer, Leigh Griffiths is a great 
goalscorer.

“I worked with Emile Heskey towards the end of his career and Odsonne is right up there with any of them, no question. He keeps re-writing his own story here at the minute.

“He’ll be well on the radar of other clubs before the start of this season. He had 27 goals up until March last season, and I was delighted with that goal return.

“I was delighted with the goals he got today too, he was on the end of things and that pleased me.

“I was really pleased, he scored great goals. His volume of goals is really pleasing me.

“They were striker’s goals today. Normally you associate Odsonne with brilliant individual goals, but there were a few tap-ins and a near-post run.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and I’m sure he’s happy, but we are as a team looking to build on what we’ve started with.”

Lennon was understandably satisfied with a performance by his team in which Edouard’s hat-trick was complemented by goals from Jeremie Frimpong and substitute Patryk Klimala as Celtic went to the top of the Premiership table.

“It’s a brilliant start,” he said. “I’m more pleased with the second half, we had to iron out a few things from the first half when we were 2-1 up.

“We were a little bit passive and lacking in intensity in our play with the ball.

“In the second half we got a brilliant response, a real powerful performance. To score five goals after such a lengthy lay-off speaks volumes for the players’ mentality and their quality, and their will to win. I’m absolutely thrilled by that.

“There is definitely more to come. The intensity we played with in the second half was much better.

“We were a little bit off it in the first half which was totally understandable. We’ve had a long pre-season with a few games, and it wasn’t really enough, so they will feel the benefit of that today.”

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