Do you want to see Bersant Celina start for Ipswich Town against Bolton on Saturday?
PUBLISHED: 13:35 11 September 2017
Is it time for Mick McCarthy to unleash Manchester City loanee Bersant Celina from the start of a Championship game?
That’s the big question following the skilful winger’s stunning late consolation goal in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.
Here you can read all about the player’s background, time at Town so far, listen to manager Mick McCarthy’s thoughts on him and then cast your vote.
Born in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, his family moved to Norway when he was just two. He started his youth career at Strømsgodset before joining Manchester City’s academy, age 16, in 2012.
After completing a two-year scholarship he signed a three-year professional contract at the Eithad Stadium in 2014. In December that year he was called up to the first team squad by manager Manuel Pellegrini and was an unused sub for an FA Cup match at the start of 2015.
GAME TIME FOR CITY
Made his senior debut in January 2016, coming on as an 85th minute sub in a 3-0 away win at Norwich City in the FA Cup, then got 12 minutes at the end of a 4-0 win at Aston Villa in the next round.
Handed his first Premier League appearance in February 2016, coming on in the 77th minute of a 3-1 home loss to Leicester and assisting Sergio Aguero for a late consolation goal.
GOING DUTCH Was loaned to Dutch top-flight side FC Twente for the entirety of the 2016/17 season. He scored five goals and produced four assists as they finished 7th in the table.
Started out as Norway youth international, representing them from U15 to U21 level and playing at the 2013 European U17 Championships. In January 2015 he declared he would turn down a senior call-up for Norway as he wanted to play for his birth-place of Kosovo. Made his competitive debut for them in September 2016 and has four senior caps to his name.
TIME AT TOWN
Joined Ipswich Town on a season-long loan at the start of July, but arrived at the pre-season training camp in Ireland with a virus which quickly spread through the squad.
“He’s been here for 12 weeks and been ill for about seven of them so is playing catch-up,” said Mick McCarthy last week. “But he’s been playing well in the Under-23 games and is looking sharp.”
Played up front in the 2-0 Carabao Cup win at League Two side Luton Town, providing a superb assist for David McGoldrick’s first. Also started the 2-1 defeat at Premier League side Crystal Palace in round two, playing his part in a spirited showing from the youngest team in the club’s history and scoring a late consolation goal.
Made his Championship debut when coming on as a 59th minute sub in the 2-0 home loss to Fulham, then scored a stunning free-kick for the Under-23s at Sheffield Wednesday during the international break.
Scored a brilliant solo goal in Saturday’s 2-1 Championship loss at QPR after being introduced as a 76th minute sub.
Town striker Freddie Sears said: “He’s been unlucky with the illnesses he keeps bringing in and spreading, but from day one we’ve been able to see the ability the boy has got. He’s obviously at Man City for a reason.
“In training some of the things he does are amazing. You try and stay away from him because he’ll put it through your legs!
“I grew up watching the likes of Joe Cole and (Paolo) Di Canio at West Ham who were special players who had that extra bit of flair. They are the sort of players that fans want to see.
“Hopefully he can get fit properly and start helping us out.”
Mick McCarthy (on August 25) said: “I know Bersant is getting frustrated. He’s not happy and wants to be in the team, but I’ve shown him a copy of the league (table). He just needs to keep doing things positively and wait for his chance.”
Last Thursady, the Blues boss added: “He does (good) things that you’re not able to coach. And he also does things that you wouldn’t coach!
“If we get him in the final third with the ball and he can do his bit then he’s a real threat, there’s no doubt about that. We saw that in the game against Luton and we’ve seen it in training.
“His attitude has been great. He tracks back really well. My criticism of him at Crystal Palace was ‘don’t give the bloody ball away’.
“When we are breaking I want us to end up with a goal, a penalty, a free-kick, a corner or a throw-in, then sixth option might be the ball ends up in the keeper’s hands, while last should be they nick it off you and end up getting a shot of their own.
“We’ve explained that to him. If we can get him on the pitch and doing everything we might have a player.”
Speaking after his goal at QPR, he said: “I think I can score any kind of goals and I showed what I can do today.
“I have been struggling with illness and obviously the team have been doing really well so it’s been hard, but I think it’s time for me now in the next game.
“The manager has been waiting for the right opportunity to play me.
“I came from Manchester City to play games, that’s why he brought me here, and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t start me the next game (on Saturday against Bolton at Portman Road).”
He added: “People think I’m not the player to play in a league like this. I am, and I just need to get the dirty part of my game and keep playing well. I’m a bit small and skinny, but I am smart and I am technically good and can play football.
“All I have got to do is work hard and try and win the ball. When I get the ball, it is not an issue.
“I am more of an attacking midfielder, playing in behind the striker, but I can play right-wing, left-wing, striker, everywhere.
“We have some good technical players at the club, along with myself, and we can hopefully use that in the next couple of games.”