Patrick Roberts backs Odsonne Edouard to trouble PSG
Edouard is hoping to follow in his team-mate’s footsteps tomorrow night at Celtic Park, when Paris Saint-Germain are the visitors as the Champions League group stage gets under way.
The 19-year-old striker is eligible to play and enhanced his chances of featuring at some point by scoring on his debut at Hamilton on Friday. Celtic’s options are limited with Moussa Dembele struggling to be fit and Leigh Griffiths another doubt.
Roberts has little doubt Edouard is up to the task of coming straight in against players he trained alongside not so long ago.
While it might feel surreal at first, Roberts let instinct take over last season when scoring against Manchester City, his parent club, to help Celtic secure a creditable 1-1 draw. Edouard is setting his sights on doing similar if picked against PSG, who have let him join Celtic on a season’s loan.
The French striker certainly got off to the best possible start last week when he scored the last of his side’s goals in the 4-1 win at Hamilton’s Super Seal stadium. He received a round of applause from his team-mates on his return to the dressing room having adapted so well to the tricky conditions.
A cold early autumn night on Astroturf in Lanarkshire aren’t the easiest circumstances in which to make your bow – particularly when you can’t speak the same language as your team-mates. However, Edouard found his feet admirably quickly and deserved the goal he scored on 65 minutes.
“His English is going to need a bit of work but he is a top lad and a great player,” said Roberts. “He is a good addition to the side. He is strong, quick and, as you saw the other night, he can score goals, which is important. To have a third striker is important. He is a good lad and I am glad he got his goal the other night.”
“As footballers, what we know is on the pitch,” added Roberts, when asked how they’ve helped their new team-mate settle in. “We show it through football and try to encourage him as much as we can to play the way we do.
“Hopefully he has seen how we played last year and can emulate that when he comes in the side. He worked hard [against Hamilton] and got his goal. That is important for a striker. He is only young. It is a good learning experience for him to come here.”
Roberts has returned to a side arguably a lot stronger than last season. As well as Edouard, Olivier Ntcham has made an immediate impact after signing from Manchester City. Meanwhile, no one of significance has left.
“I think it was more important to keep everyone who was here last season here,” said Roberts. “I have come back. I was the only one who wasn’t here. It is important. There is a good morale in the squad.
“To add new faces is good for competition for places. It is only good. It is just good to keep the whole squad together.”
Roberts claims not to feel any extra pressure on his shoulders after returning to the club following a long period of speculation, when he was also linked with loan moves to Nice and Southampton.
“The Celtic fans know what I’m about and the manager knows what I’m about,” he said. “It’s just about me going out on to the pitch and doing what I know and what I’ve always done. I relish it.”