Celtic: Brendan Rodgers praises recent signing Olivier Ntcham after Lyon display

Olivier Ntcham
Olivier Ntcham joined Celtic in a move worth around £4.5m

Brendan Rodgers says Celtic new boy Olivier Ntcham proved he has the ability to play at the very top level in Saturday's friendly defeat to Lyon.

The Scottish champions fielded a makeshift side in the 4-0 reverse and Rodgers was delighted with the 21-year-old he signed from Manchester City.

"For Ollie it's about fitness - you see how he moves in the game today," the Celtic manager said.

"He has the qualities to play at the very highest level."

Ntcham, a French international youth player, spent the past two seasons on loan at Genoa in Italy.

He played for just over an hour of Saturday's friendly and Rodgers reckons that was enough to show how vital he will be.

"His range of passing, it makes the game look very simple," Rodgers added. "He can play short, play long, he can dribble and shoot.

Kundai Benyu
Kundai Benyu has played his way into his manager's plans for this season

"He has everything to be a top, top level number eight. It's just timing really, that's his first game so 65 minutes was enough for him. He'll just build up his fitness over the next few weeks and when he's ready he'll be a big player for us."

Another player to have recently signed a four-year deal with Celtic, Kundai Benyu, has also made a big impression on his new boss.

He played more than 70 minutes on Saturday and Rodgers admitted the 19-year-old, signed from Ipswich, has forced his way into contention.

"Young Kundai did really well," he said. "He's surprised me to be honest. I knew he was a good player, you can see what we're trying to build here in terms of players who are technically gifted, but they have to have good mobility and good physicality, and he has that. He's come in and played with a nice little edge, he's competitive and he's got confidence.

"How he receives the ball is very good, he's an attacking player, he wants to get goals and he's actually quite exciting.

"Initially the plan was to have him in, thinking he would maybe get an idea of how we work and then go on loan, but I've sort of changed my mind on him after watching him. I think it's going to be good for him to have at least six months with us, see how we train, see how we work, get an education on our footballing idea then review it again in January and see where he's at.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers was happy with much of his side's work against Lyon

"He's certainly a boy who can contribute for us and he's done very well."

Second-half goals from Maxwel Cornet, Myziane Maolida Nabil Fekir and Amine Gouiri won the friendly for Lyon, who finished fourth in the French top flight last season.

But Rodgers was happy with how the match went.

"I really enjoyed it," he said. "Up until the first hour it was a real good game. I have a responsibility to try to get as many of my players as fit as we can for the beginning of the season and for throughout the season.

"First half we were very good, some of our combination play, the speed in our game was excellent and we should have went in in front at that time.

"Once we make the changes into the second half it becomes a little bit broken, and the level in our quality changes. For the senior players it was great to get game time."

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