Celtic green light for Rogic loan switch

NEIL LENNON has explained why he is now prepared to allow Tom Rogic to go on loan to Japan for the rest of the season.

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Tom Rogic has made only five starts for Celtic in 12 months
Tom Rogic has made only five starts for Celtic in 12 months

And Kris Commons' form is at the nub of the change of heart.

Rogic simply can't get a look-in at first-team level because the Hoops' top scorer and the man tipped to be Player of the Year is performing too well to be dropped.

So, Lennon has been unable to follow through with his intention to give Rogic the game time he needs to ensure his development does not stall.

The 21-year-old has made just 14 appearances for the club - only five from the start - since joining 12 months ago.

He last pulled on the Hoops as a sub against AC Milan on November 26, and Lennon admits he has even struggled to find him a spot on the bench in some recent matches.

Originally, when it was suggested by Australian national team manager, Ange Postecoglou, that Rogic should go out on loan in this window to retain his spot in their World Cup squad for this summer's finals, Lennon was irked anyone should try to tell him what he should do with his players.

There was a growing clamour from the other side of the world that Rogic should go to Japan, where his manager when he was at Central Coast Mariners in Australia, Graham Arnold, is now in charge of Vegalta Sendai in the top division.

Lennon was adamant that, if he did decide to send Rogic out on loan, Celtic's management team would decide where he would go.

But, after considering all the options and after discussions with all the parties involved, the Parkhead boss is ready to give Rogic his blessing to head to the J-League until the end of the season.

Lennon confirmed: "There is interest from Graham Arnold's team in Japan. We have agreed to do that (loan him)."

Ex-Celt Michael McGlinchey has already agreed to join Arnold on loan from Mariners.

The Hoops boss retains full confidence that Rogic will return to Parkhead, and better placed to challenge for a starting place.

He explained his change of mind: "I can't guarantee Tom game in game out, and I think that's what he needs at the minute.

"He has only had 31 professional games in his career, so some people are expecting him to run before he can walk.

"Kris Commons is playing so well in that position, and I have other options in that position as well. It will be good for Tom to go and get some football."

Lennon will also consider allowing some of his other young players to go out on loan in this window, provided he believes the clubs looking to sign them offer the right environment to help them progress.

After the performances delivered by some of the next batch of rising stars in yesterday's Antalya Cup final defeat to Galatasaray, Lennon recognises the need to keep the path towards the first team clear.

Mo Bangura is one candidate for what, for him, would be a third loan move, or even a permanent transfer, if the price meets Celtic's valuation.


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