Celtic boss Neil Lennon hails Victor Wanyama as 'world class'

NEIL LENNON has described Victor Wanyama as "world class" as the plaudits continue to pour in for Celtic's victory over Barcelona.

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Victor Wanyama has been valued at £25m by Celtic boss Neil Lennon

The Champions League victory has caught the imagination of everyone in football.

But along with the praise is sure to come increased interest in the men who made the shock result possible.

Kenyan midfielder Wanyama – already valued at £25million by Lennon – was at the heart of the performance, and played a crucial role breaking up Barcelona attacks before they could gain momentum.

Against the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, the performance of the 20-year-old – who cost only £900,000 when signed from Belgian club Beerschot 16 months ago – confirmed Wanyama is at home at the highest level.

Celtic are still negotiating with the player's representatives over a new contract to supercede the one which runs out in three years.

But Lennon hopes that experiencing nights like Wednesday – when Wanyama opened the scoring with a powerful header – will help persuade him he can realise all his dreams in Paradise.

The manager said: "Victor Wanyama is world class. Just world class. Listen, in that company we had a beast in there.

"I really thought Victor was magnificent against Barcelona."

Crucially, Wanyama followed instructions and curbed his play sufficiently to avoid the booking which would have forced him to serve a suspension when Celtic face Benfica in Lisbon a week on Tuesday.

Lennon had to make several adjustments to his side after Scott Brown joined James Forrest, Gary Hooper, Emilio Izaguirre, Lassad Nouioui, Thomas Rogne and Anthony Stokes on the injured list, while Mikael Lustig joined them in the treatment room after limping off with a hip injury against Barca.

While Stokes and Izzy are out long-term, the manager hopes the rest of those missing players will be available for Lisbon on November 20.

Lennon was impressed by the way those who did face Barcelona adapted to what was required and kept going to the very end to secure the three points.

He reflected: "The players are well conditioned. They have had a heavy schedule this season and it has taken its toll a little bit.

"Obviously, we have picked up a few injuries now and fatigue is kicking in."

Now Lennon will check on his players before he can consider picking a team to host St Johnstone on Sunday for a match in which he is demanding the same level of commitment.

Sport

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