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  • Praise for Ajer as Celts look to see off Norwegian champions

    Praise for Ajer as Celts look to see off Norwegian champions

    By: Paul Cuddihy in Trondheim on 01 Aug, 2018 12:31

  • KRISTOFFER Ajer will be looking forward to playing in his homeland, as Celtic take on Rosenborg tonight (Wednesday) in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie.

    The 20-year-old defender has become a regular feature in the Celtic starting XI since the end of last year, and he was rewarded for his club performances with full international honours with Norway.

    There will be no divided loyalties tonight, however, as Ajer aims to help the Hoops take a step closer to the group stages of the competition.

    And ahead of the game at the Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim, his manager has praised the player’s attitude and application over the past couple of years since joining the club as a 17-year-old from Norwegian side, Start.

    “I think he’ll go to the very highest of the game,” said Brendan Rodgers. “He did very well out on loan with Kilmarnock and then came back to us last year and did very well.

    “He’s quick, he’s fast and he’s technically very good. He’s very bright and he’s a quick learner. He’s a real leader for a young guy and he’s only going to get better and better. He’s a joy to work with. He’s a good guy, clever boy and his life’s devoted to football.”

    The manager also welcomed Dedryck Boyata back into the squad this week following the defender’s impressive performances with Belgium during the World Cup, helping his country to finish third in the tournament.

    Tonight’s game against Rosenborg has come too early for the player, but he will soon be involved again in the action, while the manager is also hoping that the Belgian internationalist will remain at Paradise for the longer term.

    “It is great to have Dedryck back,” Brendan Rodgers said. “He had an excellent World Cup and gained valuable experience. He looks fit and strong but, of course, he just needs a bit of time.

    “I had a long chat with Dedryck on Monday and he is in a good place. We want to keep him for as long as we can. That is important, but my priority is getting him fit and back into the team again because he is a top-class player.”

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