Youngster Lee O’Connor could go on to make a name for himself at Celtic
O’Connor, who made his move to Parkhead on transfer deadline day, was on the books of Man United since 2016 and also made it to the Red Devils’ UEFA Champions League squad last season, although he never managed a senior competitive appearance for the club.
The talented youngster, though, was highly-rated by the youth coaches at Old Trafford and played over 100 games for the club’s academy and development sides, featuring regularly for the U-18s and U-19s from 2016 to 2018 before eventually making the step up to the U-23 ranks.
The Irish defensive prodigy played for United’s U-23 side in the Premier League 2 and the Premier League International Cup last season before choosing to further his development north of the border with a permanent move to Parkhead.
The promising teenager, who was a part of Republic of Ireland’s U-21 squad that played at the 2019 Toulon Tournament, received a senior international call-up from Martin O’Neill last year for the UEFA Nations League fixtures, although he still remains uncapped at the highest level.
Essentially a central defender by trade, the 19-year-old has shown the versatility to play in multiple positions across the backline, including as a full-back on either side, whilst also possessing the ball-playing ability to slot into a holding midfield role in front of the defence.
To put things into perspective, Lee O’Connor’s arrival at Parkhead on deadline day might have gone under the radar after a summer of heavy spending but the fans have every reason to be hopeful of the hearing a lot more about the 19-year-old in the future.
Indeed, the Irish starlet has come through the door largely as a project player and a future prospect and Celtic could potentially have a gem on their hands if the teenager goes on to fulfil his promise at Parkhead in the years to follow.
O’Connor’s experience with the academy and development sides at Old Trafford, coupled with his obvious talent and vast potential, should make him a wonderful addition to Celtic’s youth ranks.
The defender is yet to get a taste of senior professional football but he is likely to find opportunities a lot easier to come by following his switch this summer.
The Irishman’s arrival at Parkhead coincides with a deal for another promising starlet, Jeremie Frimpong, from Man City on the deadline day, as the Hoops underlined their ambitions with a double raid on the Manchester giants.
As well as that, Celtic made the headlines earlier in the summer with the acquisition of Jonathan Afolabi and Luca Connell from Southampton and Bolton Wanderers respectively.
Hence, it is pretty clear from these deals that Celtic are constantly on the lookout to unearth gems from south of the border, a stance that might pay rich dividends in the future.
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With that in mind, Celtic would be hoping that Lee O’Connor can challenge for a first-team spot in the future and carve out a name for himself at Parkhead.