Glasgow Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that the Scottish champions will not sell Cristian Gamboa this summer, despite the defender being a fringe figure in the Hoops squad.
The 28-year-old Costa Rica international is firmly behind Swede Mikael Lustig in the Bhoys pecking order at right-back, with the former West Brom man expected to spend plenty of time on the bench in 2018-19.
This has led to speculation that Celtic could leat Gamboa leave Parkhead for a new club this summer, especially as the defender is entering the final 12 months of his contract.
However, the hard-working full-back was called upon in the Hoops’ 3-1 Champions League qualifier win over Rosenborg last week as Lustig is still recovering after a World Cup campaign with Sweden.
Rodgers has been quizzed about Gamboa’s Celtic future and has made it clear that the wideman will remain in Glasgow for the upcoming campaign.
“We need experienced players like him,” Herald Scotland quote the Bhoys boss as saying.
“Last year was probably difficult with not playing and maybe not even making the bench because you don’t need that sort of position so much.
“It is difficult but he has always kept his professionalism. We have always had good communication and my message has always just been be ready.
“He did exceptionally well I thought [against Rosenborg]. It was nice for him to play against his old team, to go and show that level. He held up very, very well. His experience in that back four is important as well because they are so young.”
Gamboa would surely like to play more often for Celtic but has admitted that he is happy at the Parkhead outfit and will work hard to get more time on the pitch in the upcoming campaign.
“I think the manager knows I can perform in games like this one, especially so soon after the World Cup,” he said.
“He trusts me in these type of games so I’m happy with him, happy with the club and the people around it. I always said Celtic is a fantastic club, my family are happy here and I still have one more year of my contract.”
Celtic are facing the possibility of losing Gamboa on a free transfer next summer but Rodgers clearly wants to keep the required strength in depth in the Hoops squad rather than cashing-in on the fringe man.