David Turnbull Has A Big Choice To Make, But Brendan Can Keep Him At Celtic Park.

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David Turnbull is facing a momentous decision at Parkhead; should he stay, or should he go? There is little doubt in my mind that he will be offered a new deal at the club, and imminently; we have to offer him a deal imminently or we have to sell him this summer, because he is obviously too valuable an asset to have walking away for free.

He is a good player. There have even been signs, over the last couple of years, that he has the potential to be a great player. He did not fit the way Ange Postecoglou wanted to play, and that was one of the reasons he’s had such a difficult last two seasons. For all that, you can see that he makes a contribution almost every time he’s in the side.

Rodgers has said that everyone is on a clean slate.

That must be music to Turnbull’s ears.

If he produces the goods on the pitch he will stay in the side. The competition is fierce now, much greater than it was when we signed him, and on a different level … but now he has to step out from being that good player and become the great one if he wants to play every week … and the thing of it is, he’s got the right man at the helm to help him do it.

Ange transformed certain of our players in part because he changed the roles they played. Ralston and Taylor have never been so good. But Rodgers can do something Ange never did; he can actually get players to believe they are better than they are and then grow in that direction. I’ve talked about his background study of neurolinguistics; that’s one element of that. He also, like Ange, can suggest certain tweaks to a player’s game to get them to the next level.

I think two players in particular will feel the benefits of that, and neither of them was a guaranteed starter under Ange; Turnbull and Liel Abada. He has convinced Abada to stay, presumably by telling him that he sees a larger role in the team for him.

Will it be enough for Turnbull?

It has been for Liel, but most of us are resigned to him probably moving on next summer, so Brendan has basically talked him round to staying for another 12 months.

Turnbull is in a very different position. He, too, could be off next summer … if we let it get that far, if we allow him to walk away for free. But I can’t see us doing it.

So he is being asked to stay and sign up for God knows how many more years, and he’ll do that only if he is confident not only in his own ability – his ability to crack the first team squad, get a place in the team and keep it – but confident in the manager as well, believing he will keep his word and give him the opportunity to show what he can do.

I won’t be surprised by either decision, and I will wish him well regardless because it cannot have been easy for him to cool his heels these past two years when he wanted to be in the side.

It is his bad luck that we’ve rebuilt so well, but even as Holm and Kwon have come in and made his life here immeasurably more difficult I think he’s got a better chance than he would have had if Ange had stayed at the club. He’ll decide if it’s enough for him.

He must be tempted by what Brendan has had to say though. We know he has huge self-belief because he has proved that in coming back from the injuries and issues which stalled his career progression. Yet that has perhaps had an impact on how patient he’s willing to be.

Maybe he feels that enough of his career has gone already that he does want some guarantees and assurances, which Celtic cannot realistically offer him.

Nobody at this club, after all, is a guaranteed starter. Not anymore.

And there’s no doubt that he could be exactly that somewhere else.

I have to admit that I’m a huge fan.

I’ve long said that I think the mental leap from being an “ex Motherwell player” to being “a Celtic regular” is stark … but I’ve never doubted that he’s got the stuff, in all the ways that matter, from the skills he has on the pitch to the mental fortitude to succeed.

I hope he stays. I hope this is the year he finally completes his journey, and becomes an indispensable part of this team. He could not hope for a better manager to help him realise his potential and support him towards getting there.

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