Kristoffer Ajer could replace Celtic stars after 'brilliant' Kilmarnock loan

New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the press conference

Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko have been linked with the Premier League - but Kristoffer Ajer's development means Celtic have a bright future.

Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer

With teenage centre-back Kristoffer Ajer forced to wait for his league debut in Celtic colours, it appears he made the right decision taking his short-term future into his own hands and moving to Kilmarnock on loan in January, the Evening Times reports.

The Norwegian youth international had not made a single Scottish Premiership start by the New Year. Now, in half a season at Rugby Park, he has made 14.

And he’s also confirmed his status as one of Celtic’s most eye-catching young talents. Even motor mouth moaner Chris Sutton admitted on Twitter that he had been impressed by Ajer’s development at Kilmarnock.

Excellent on the ball and strong in the air, Celtic supporters were quick to laud the youngster after he snuffed out Rangers’ attack during a goalless draw last month. However, the major challenge facing Ajer is to catch the eye of manager Brendan Rodgers.

New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the press conference

Though, with his loan spell at the East Ayrshire club set to come to an end, Ajer could hardly have done much more to give himself hope of a future at Celtic Park.

'Brilliant'

“It’s been brilliant for me staying here for a lot of months, playing regularly and I’ve met some really good guys,” Ajer told the Evening Times.

“The staff have been amazing, teaching me everything every day at training, watching clips after the games so I’m learning and enjoying it a lot.

“I’m enjoying playing regularly every week and being in the dressing room with a lot of young guys, I’ve made some really good friends and spent time with them on days off as well.”

New kid on the block

With the future of two Celtic centre-backs very much uncertain, Ajer could find that first-team opportunities at the champions are not too far away.

Celtic's Jozo Simunovic in action with Rangers' Barrie McKay

The Daily Mail reported that Newcastle United and West Brom were tracking £9 million-rated Croatian Jozo Simunovic. And Erik Sviatchenko told the Daily Record recently that he would consider his future after losing his place to Dedryck Boyata and being linked with Leicester City and Southampton.

Though Ajer’s rapid development could ease the pain of these potential Celtic losses.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch