John Gregory raves about Celtic star Nir Bitton, predicts future move to England

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Former Aston Villa boss John Gregory has heaped praise on Celtic star Nir Bitton.

Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory has told the Daily Mail that Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton is destined to play in the Premier League.

Bitton, 23, arrived at Celtic from FC Ashdod back in the summer of 2013, and whilst he had a slow start to life in Glasgow, the midfielder has now flourished.

The 6ft 5in midfield powerhouse has become one of the first names on Ronny Deila's teamsheet, dominating games with his strength and impressive frame, sitting in front of the defence and stopping opposition attacks.

An Israeli international with 12 caps to his name, Bitton's stock is rising by the game - and his former Ashdod boss John Gregory, who also used to manage Aston Villa and Derby County in the Premier League - has told the Daily Mail that teams in England should be monitoring Bitton's progress.

"I'm delighted to see Nir doing so well and I'm sure there are one or two people starting to take a look at him," said Gregory. "He is still only 23 but has played a lot of games. You can look at some players at a similar age and see they have only started 20 matches in five years or whatever. Nir played a lot of games in the top league in Israel and has now done the same in Scotland, with the pressure and atmosphere that comes with playing for Celtic."

"If the club can now go on and qualify for the Champions League group stage then he would add that experience and I think that would attract a lot of people. He has so many attributes when you are watching him playing. There will be a lot of Premier League clubs sitting up and looking at this boy, keen to keep an eye on him," he added.

Celtic have a hard enough task trying to keep star defender Virgil van Dijk out of the clutches of Premier League clubs, but manager Deila could also face losing other key players.

Midfielder Stefan Johansen will attract admiring glances if he continues to score so regularly, whilst Bitton figures to be the next Celtic player to draw interest from Premier League sides, who would no doubt love to have a young defensive midfielder with composure in possession and superb athletic ability.

For now though, the Bhoys can enjoy Bitton's performances in green and white hoops - but as with some of their best players over the years, the Premier League may come calling in the near future.

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