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Celtic shelve plans to send ex-Ipswich Town midfielder Kundai Benyu on loan after impressive start

PUBLISHED: 11:51 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:51 17 July 2017

Kundai Benyu enjoyed an impressive home debut for Celtic against Lyon yesterday. Photo: PA

Kundai Benyu enjoyed an impressive home debut for Celtic against Lyon yesterday. Photo: PA

PA Wire

Kundai Benyu is aiming to convince Brendan Rodgers he can quickly become a Celtic regular following his summer switch from Ipswich Town.

The 19-year-old has already changed his manager’s mind after his performances in training and against Lyon yesterday led Rodgers to ditch plans to send the midfielder out on loan.

Benyu rejected a new long-term deal at Portman Road this summer after a sparkling loan spell at National League side Aldershot, with Celtic set to pay a compensation fee of around £100-200k.

He said: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to go out on loan but I have come here and worked as hard as I can so I’m happy to stay and fight for my place.

“I would much rather be settled in Glasgow with the boys playing week in, week out.

“Given time and me working hard in training, listening to the gaffer’s advice, I think I will be able to get in the team as much as I can.

“I think I am ready to step in now if the gaffer calls upon me but the main objective is to keep working hard in training every day.”

• Mick McCarthy lifts the lid on Benyu’s exit

Celtic lost 4-0 against the French side but were goalless at half-time and three goals came in the final half hour when Rodgers introduced a number of young players.

Benyu played for the first 70 minutes and gave Rodgers plenty to think about.

“He has surprised me to be honest,” Rodgers said. “Obviously he’s a young player and we will just see how he develops.

“Initially the plan was to have him in, thinking he could come in and get an idea of how we work and then go on loan. But I have changed my mind with him over this period of time, just watching him.

“It’s going to be good for him to come in and have six months with us initially to see how we work and train, and get an education in our football idea and then we’ll review it again in January and see how he is at. He is certainly a boy who can contribute for us and he has done very well.”

Rodgers said: “You see what we are trying to build here in players who are technically gifted but they have to have good mobility and physicality, and he has that.

“He has come in and played with a nice little edge. He’s competitive and he has confidence.

“How he receives the ball is very good. He’s an attacking player who wants to get goals and he’s quite exciting. I thought he was very good for a 19-year-old coming into this environment and, looking at him at close-hand, he has done very well.”

The future of Mick McCarthy and the direction of Ipswich Town cast a shadow over the final weeks of the season, but there are still plenty of issues to be sorted at Portman Road. ANDY WARREN takes a look

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Ipswich Town fans want to see young defender Josh Emmanuel given his chance in the first team next season.

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