Former Celt, Jackie McNamara, has questioned whether or not Mohamed Elyounoussi is responsible for his prolonged absence following his failed comeback from a foot injury.
Speaking to Football Insider, McNamara claims that his desperation to be rushed back for the league cup final has affected his availability for selection now.
So what has McNamara said?
When asked who was to blame for Elyounoussi’s relapse, the former Celtic skipper said:
“I think that maybe because it was the cup final it wouldn’t have just been the manager, it would have been the player desperate to play”.
“I think it will be more a mix, everybody wants to play in cup finals and I think that would have been the case there”.
“Obviously they need to make sure that he’s right now”.
So is McNamara correct?
Elyounoussi had been on a rich vein of form prior to his injury and would’ve been – as McNamara said – desperate to make the starting line-up, when a big occasion is on the horizon, footballers of any standard will play through the pain barrier, unfortunately for Celtic it has backfired on this occasion.
With 7 goals and 6 assists, Lennon will be hoping that the Norwegian international can hit the ground running when he returns to fitness and offer the balance that was so key to the Hoops winning run prior to the winter break.
Celtic have been linked with Niclas Eliasson of Bristol City with Elyounoussi only on loan and may see him as a viable long-term option should they be able to secure his signature.
Will Elyounoussi make a return to the starting XI when he is available for selection?
Manager’s are faced with difficult decisions with players returning from fitness and if a player claims they are fully fit and taking an active part in training there isn’t much they can do if the player breaks down again, the medical team and Lennon won’t be taking any risks this time around especially with his side in a strong position on the park as they look to secure an unprecedented eleventh consecutive trophy and nine league titles in a row.