Ntcham lands lu­cra­tive new deal

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY CRAIG SWAN

OLIVIER NTCHAM last night signed a bumper long-term deal at Celtic and ad­mit­ted he’s go­ing to strug­gle to get back into the team.

The French mid­fielder penned new four-year con­tract ty­ing him to the club un­til 2022.

Ntcham en­joyed an out­stand­ing first 16 months at Park­head hav­ing ar­rived for £4mil­lion from Manch­ester City to earn his im­proved terms un­der the guid­ance of Brendan


Long-term his fu­ture is now clear but he knows short-term might be more tricky.

Ntcham has been stuck in the stands with a ham­string in­jury as Rodgers’ team have hit top form.

With stars such as Cal­lum Mcgre­gor, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie shin­ing in the en­gine-room and skip­per Scott Brown also due to re­turn soon, the 22-year-old ac­cepts he’ll need to hit his peak to get back in the side.

Ntcham said: “The mid­field­ers who have come in to the team have done a great job. That helps ev­ery­one else to keep push­ing and im­prov­ing. The win over Leipzig showed ev­ery­body we can com­pete in the Europa League.

“It was a lit­tle bit frus­trat­ing to just watch the game on Thurs­day (in­set) but I was happy to see my team win such a big match. I en­joyed it a lot but I know that to get back into the team my lev­els will need to be very high.” Ntcham’s sig­na­ture is a huge boost for the cham­pi­ons.

The French un­der-21 ace at­tracted summer in­ter­est from the likes of Porto but the club have ce­mented the ex-genoa loan star’s fu­ture with the ex­ten­sion to his cur­rent deal.

He said: “We started to speak about this pos­si­bil­ity of sign­ing a new con­tract in the summer when I came back af­ter the break I’m re­ally happy to have this sit­u­a­tion com­pleted.”

Boss Rodgers will as­sess his squad which is re­cov­er­ing from the dra­matic 2-1 vic­tory over RB Leipzig but Jozo Simunovic, Cris­tian Gam­boa, Olivier Ntcham, Scott Brown and Leigh Grif­fiths all re­main out with var­i­ous ail­ments.

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