Brendan Rodgers left Glasgow Celtic in February in order to take charge of Leicester City. Quite a few Hoops players and fans were upset after that happened after the former Liverpool boss had led them so well during the past two seasons.
One man, however, who would have been relieved is Celtic centre-half Jozo Simunovic. The 24-year-old believes that he should have been playing more regularly while Rodgers was managing the Parkhead club.
“When you’re not in the team, then it’s just a case of keep going and keep working. You have to be ready when the chance might come and that is what has happened with me,” the Celtic defender told the Daily Record.
“I believe that I should have played at some points even before the new manager came into the club, but I couldn’t change that. Now that I’m in the team, I have to keep going the right way.
“If you look in the past, I haven’t played as much, but I have come back and playing well again.”
Whilst managing Celtic during the first half of the campaign, the Northern Irish manager opted to utilise Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer as his first-choice centre-back combination with Filip Benkovic as the main cover option.
This effectively left Simunovic as Celtic’s fourth choice central defender. After taking over the club on an interim basis, it did not seem as though Neil Lennon favoured the Croatian during his first few games in charge.
He opted to stick with Boyata and Ajer but opportunities arose for Simunovic following the Belgian international’s injury.
Given that his contract is set to expire this summer, Boyata may have well played his final game in a Hoops jersey. Benkovic meanwhile may be set to return to his parent club Leicester during the summer transfer window. This means that Celtic should give serious thought to deploying Simunovic as one of their first-choice centre-backs from next season.
The player has certainly now proven that he is worthy of being given the opportunity. Deploying him in that role could also save the club millions as they could channel funds into developing other areas of the Celtic squad.