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  • Lee O'Connor joins Celtic on four-year deal from Manchester United

    Lee O'Connor joins Celtic on four-year deal from Manchester United

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 02 Sep, 2019 23:50

  • CELTIC have signed Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender, Lee O’Connor, on a four-year deal from Manchester United.

    The 19-year-old defender was given permission to leave the Ireland squad today to head over to Paradise and sign for Celtic, and he will head back to Dublin tomorrow to resume training with his international team-mates, including fellow Celt, Jonathan Afolabi, who joined the Hoops from Southampton last month.

    And having made the move from Old Trafford to Celtic Park, Lee is looking forward to getting started with his new team.

    Speaking exclusively to the official Celtic website, Lee O'Connor said: “It feels surreal at the moment but I’m just looking forward to getting the international break over with and then starting with Celtic.

    “I found out last weekend about Celtic’s interest, and it went from there. Today was a bit hectic but I’m just glad to get it through before the window shuts.

    “The Irish squad met up this morning and I spoke to the manager, Stephen Kenny, and he was fine about me coming here today. I’ll meet up them again tomorrow for training.

    “I’m a versatile player. I can play anywhere across the back four or midfield if needed. I’d say that I’m a wholehearted defender. I love defending and tackling, but I like to get forward as well. First and foremost, though, I am a defender.”

    As well as being friends with Jonathan Afolabi, Celtic’s latest signing is also a good friend of midfielder, Barry Coffey, who has been playing with the Hoops Reserves this season. And when he first became aware of the prospect of moving to Paradise, Lee was on the phone to his international team-mate.

    “I spoke to Johnny and he told me how everyone made him feel welcome, how well he’s settled in and how much he likes it, so that really helped me too,” he said. “I’m good friends with Johnny and Barry, so it’ll definitely help me settle in.

    “I just want to get started, work hard and give it my all, and hopefully the manager and all the staff will see why they’ve brought me here and I can make an impact.”

    Lee also revealed that he’s no stranger to Paradise, having come on the stadium tour with his family when he was a youngster. Now he’s back as a Celtic player, and even before signing his deal today, he was cheering on the team in Sunday’s Glasgow derby.

    “It was a great result, so it’s a good start to the season for the team, and it was good to see a fellow Irishman getting a goal too,” he said.

    “Walking through the Celtic Park tunnel, even in an empty stadium, I just want to run out on to the pitch, but I’ll just have wait and see what happens. It’s been a surreal week, but I’m really happy to be here and really proud as well.”

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