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Johnston makes surprise claim over Rodgers

Mikey Johnston believes that Brendan Rodgers wanted to keep him at Celtic.

On Deadline Day the winger went out on loan to West Brom where he has quickly made an impact with two goals exciting their fans and boosting the promotion push with the Baggies currently sitting in fifth place.

Back in May 2017, during Celtic’s Invincible season, Johnston was given his first team debut, starting at home to St Johnstone with Tony Ralston also making his debut.

A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, Johnston has been in and out of favour with last season spent on loan with Vitoria Guimaraes.

Famously during Rodgers’ first spell managing Celtic he mentioned having about a million wingers when Marian Shved was suggested as a potential signing.

That position has been a real problem area for Celtic this season, despite having plenty of options no-one has come close to replacing Jota while Liel Abada has had issues that aren’t in the routine of football management.

Rodgers has been unable to put together the right combinations down the wings so far this season, interestingly in an interview with The Sun Johnston believes that he could still be part of the push for the SPFL title:

I think (Brendan Rodgers) probably would have kept me if it was up to him but I think we had nine wingers at the end so I think it would have been harsh had they made me stay.

He was great with me to be honest with you and I think he wants the best for me so obviously coming here was that.

I would have loved to be starting every week at Celtic but this is another massive club I have come to so it does not feel like a step down.

I am obviously playing in a good league as well and it is important for my career. I am here now and I just want to make an impact and cross that bridge when I come to it. I want to make an impact and help the team get to the play-offs.

Celtic currently have Johnston, Marco Tilio and Sead Haksabanovic out on loan leaving January signing Nicolas Kuhn, Luis Palma, Yang Hyun-jun, James Forrest, Daizen Maeda and Abada with teenager Rocco Vata waiting in the wings.

All of those players are under contract beyond this season although it seems likely that Abada will shortly be moving on to an MLS club with Atlanta United and Austin both linked with the Israeli winger.

It seems strange that so many wingers have been accumulated with four of them signed since Rodgers returned last June. The upshot is that it looks like wingers are more likely to leave than arrive during the summer transfer window.

Johnston’s form at West Brom could revive his hopes at Celtic but more realistically attract an offer from an English side, seven years on from his hoops debut it could be that a new start has more appeal than returning to compete with the mass of wingers still at Celtic.

CLICK HERE for Nawrocki injury blow.

CLICK HERE for Johnston’s appearances this season.

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