Celtic boss Ronny Deila responds to speculation linking Carlton Cole with summer exit

The 32-year-old only joined the Scottish Premiership leaders in October.

Ronny Deila has responded to the speculation that suggested that Carlton Cole was looking to leave Celtic in the summer by insisting that the striker was still in his plans, according to the Daily Record.

The former West Ham forward only joined the Hoops in October, but after making just five appearances for the club - and none since mid-January - the Record reports that rumours have begun to circulate that he would be looking to leave Parkhead in the near future. However, Deila has moved to quash the suggestion that he is on his way out.

"He is training. There is hard competition for him as well. Right now, he has not been featuring in our squad. We will see if he can get a new step and fight himself into the team," he told the Record.

"He's improving and that's positive. But he still has a bit to go in my opinion. He's had some small issues with his knee but he's solved that as well so he can train more consistently as well.

"As for the summer, that's news to me, it's hard to say. All these things come into consideration all the time."

The 32-year-old has struggled to make an impression for the Bhoys. His five appearances have reaped just one goal, and that came in the Scottish Cup victory over League One side Stranraer - that game was also the only time that Cole has started for the Premiership leaders - and Deila's selection in recent weeks suggests that he has fallen further down the pecking order.

In the six games since his last appearance, Cole has been chosen for the bench just once, as Deila appears to prefer using new signing Colin Kazim-Richards as Leigh Griffiths' understudy. 

And if the Turkey international is able to step up when Deila decides to rest his key man, then it is difficult to imagine how Cole still fits into the equation at Parkhead, despite what his manager says.

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