Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes “quality” Eboue Kouassi can replace Scott Brown while the long-serving midfielder is sidelined with a calf injury, reports The Sun.
Brown could be out of action for a number of weeks and Rodgers says Kouassi now has an opportunity to step up and take his place, adding that the 20-year-old has been working hard in training for his chance.
“Broony’s been a brilliant captain for me. It’s unfortunate he’s picked up this injury. But it’s a great moment for people to step out of the shadows and show they can play. It’s limited the number of opportunities for the likes of Eboue Kouassi.
“But he’ll get a chance to come in now. He’s shown at times when he’s come in and played. Eboue’s a good player. He shows me in training every day that he’s a very good player. But he’s been limited in his chances.
“Kouassi is a specific player, a defensive midfield player. Whenever Broony is out, there is an opportunity for him to come in and play. Kouassi has that quality, there is no doubt.”
He joined Celtic from Russian outfit Krasnodar in January 2017 and has gone on to make 20 appearances in all competitions, winning one Scottish Premiership title and one Scottish Cup.
The Ivorian is a central midfielder who has only featured in three games for Celtic this season but hasn’t yet managed to prove himself on the pitch to Rodgers.
Nevertheless, the Hoops boss is under no illusions that Kouassi was the victim of stiff competition for playing time, with Brown top of the pecking order and guaranteed to feature most weeks due to his consistency.
Celtic will lose a presence in the middle of the park, but Kouassi is a combative player who will look to break up the play and ensure the Hoops retain possession.
He’s only made 10 starts since his move from Krasnodar, but clearly Rodgers has faith that he can step into Brown’s shoes in upcoming fixtures.
Stats from Transfermarkt.