The injury to Reo Hatate is as bad as we thought it might be.
He’s out until Christmas at least. Fortunately for us he’s injured in the one area of the pitch where we have cover. Plenty of it. And four players who are all vying for the opportunity to prove that the place belongs to them. This is what it’s all about. This is why you create a big squad.
I know a lot of you would argue that we have no squad depth.
We’re about to prove just how deep it actually is, because the four players who could replace Hatate all offer us different things and it’s going to be interesting to see which of them make it and which don’t.
As I said earlier, a lot of these guys don’t know it yet but they are playing for their futures right now.
The first of the four, David Turnbull, he certainly does know that. If he wants to be at Celtic he has from now until January to get a new deal for himself; he’s going to have options, for sure, and there’s no question about that, but if he wants to stay here he doesn’t have long to prove that he’s worth the new deal that would extend his stay.
We all know Turnbull can produce.
But can he produce consistently? Can he produce to the level where he gives Rodgers a big decision to make? Or will one of the others take his shot away from him? At least one of them has a good claim to the spot.
Paolo Bernardo has the right pedigree and this might be his moment to shine.
He didn’t look out of place in the Champions League, and that’s a huge statement to make right there. If he can hold down the place, who knows what might happen? We have the option to buy him in the summer if he can produce – haha Ibrox fans read it and weep – but there’s no word on the fee, so for now we’re just waiting to see exactly what he can do.
If he can cement this spot we should know by January whether snapping him up is a priority for us. I like what I’ve seen thus far.
Iwata is another one, and he has the advantage that Rodgers likes him a lot. His is the one of the four that intrigues me most because he can play in the defensive midfield zone, which would allow us to push Callum further up the pitch.
As much as I love him in that defensive slot I think he’s wasted there. His best work is done further forward.
Iwata himself definitely is a player.
This guy, don’t forget, was the previous season’s player of the year in the J League when we signed him … that’s a big deal considering the quality they have there. I think he can definitely do us a job and Rodgers agrees.
Holm if the fourth player, and he’s been absent from the squads recently, which in a sense I understand as he’s a recent arrival and it would be unfair to throw that guy in as the main creative force when he’s just not ready yet.
But this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for, and with a lot of the games to come at home his moment might have arrived.
There’s stuff to credit all four options. We’d all like to see more of Holm but the manager has to pick the best player he can for the role, and Holm might well be at the bottom of the deck at the moment.
There is one major thing he should remember; a certain defender was even further down the pecking order not that long ago and he’s keeping multi-million pound signings out of the team at the moment. This is the thing with Rodgers.
You will be selected on merit with him.
If you perform that will move you to the front of the queue. This is a chance. Someone has to fill those shoes. Who’s it going to be?