Celtic prospect Eoghan O’Connell eyes more first-team action

Eoghan O’Connell wants to establish himself in the Celtic first team.

Celtic youngster Eoghan O’Connell is eyeing a return to the first team.

The 19-year-old has played four times in the Scottish Premiership for the champions so far in his career, having made his debut in March 2014.

O’Connell has started two games and has made a substitute appearance in another in the Premiership so far this term, and he is determined to play more regularly as the season progresses.

The teenager is part of the Celtic squad that has travelled to Gran Canaria for the Maspalomas Cup on a winter break.

O’Connell wants to show manager Ronny Deila what he is capable of in the friendly tournament which also includes PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Prague.

“Training out here can be a big change and it can be great for all the lads in and around the fringes as well as the young ones who can hopefully get some game time,” the youngster told Celtic’s official website.

“You just have to work hard in training and see where it can get us. I hope to get some game time but it’s up to the manager. Hopefully I can play in one of the games and get some time on the pitch.

“PSV and Sparta Prague are two great teams, two very big teams and it’ll be a big test. Everyone is looking forward to play.”

O’Connell is ‘raw’ and still developing, but he also plays in a position that Celtic could find themselves short come the end of the season.

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk has been strongly linked with a move away from Celtic Park this month, with Premier League trio Sunderland, Everton and West Bromwich Albion all reported to be interested.

Although Celtic could well fend off the interests of the English clubs in the January transfer window, they could be forced to sell the centre-back at the end of the season.

If O’Connell, who is also a centre-back, is given some good playing time in the first team as the season progresses, then he could be ready to step in for Van Dijk if the Dutchman leaves in the summer.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch