Neil Lennon raves about Celtic defender Christopher Jullien

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has showered praise on defender Christopher Jullien and wants him to follow on the footsteps of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.

The 26-year-old defender was outstanding for the Bhoys in Rome as Celtic came from behind to win 2-1 in the Europa League clash on Thursday.

Lennon believes that his £7million summer recruit has qualities that can propel him into the same orbit as Van Dijk, who defeated Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win UEFA’s Player of the Year award last season.

Van Dijk, who is on £180k-per-week wages at Liverpool, is arguably one of the best defenders in the world. The Dutchman, who played two complete seasons at Celtic before he moved to Southampton, is a world-class player, and Lennon believes Jullien can be as good as him.

“Van Dijk is Van Dijk. I want Jullien to use him as a benchmark, though, to try to get as far up the scale as he possibly can,” said Lennon to the Daily Record.

“He has really good attributes to do that. He was colossal for us against Lazio and read the game brilliantly.”

Celtic have qualified for the knock-out stages of the Europa League following that victory.

The Bhoys will return to action on Sunday when they face Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League clash at Celtic Park. The Hoops are top of the table, on same points with Rangers.

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