celtic manager to protect jozo simunovic in pre-season

14:00    24 Jun 2019

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon, manager of Scottish Premiership champions Celtic, has confirmed that he will ensure defender Jozo Simunovic is not overworked in pre-season.

The Croatian-born defender is currently one half of Celtic’s first-choice centre-back partnership [alongside Kristoffer Ajer] following the departures of Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic.

Simunovic has a poor injury record with the Glasgow side since signing in 2015, and the prospect of playing on ‘plastic’ [artificial] surfaces in upcoming pre-season games and the qualifiers of the UEFA Champions League is a worry for Lennon.

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“We have to manage Jozo. We know with his history he may not be able to do three games in a week and that’s fine,” the Celtic boss told the Scottish Sun.

“We’ve modified his training and it’s something we’ll address as we go along. If needs must, we’ll play him on plastic — but we’ll be careful.”

In other Celtic news, the club has reportedly rejected an offer of £15m from Premier League giants Arsenal for defender Kieran Tierney.

The 22-year-old was restricted to 21 league appearances for Celtic last term – due to a hernia problem which he has since had surgery on – and he is contracted at Celtic Park until June 2023.

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