Socceroos talent Daniel Arzani will play in a Celtic reserves team friendly this week in his first minutes since injuring his knee in on his senior debut last year.
The 20-year-old has finished the rehabilitation process following the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his only Hoops match against Dundee in October and is ready to be eased back into the first team picture.
Celtic coach Neil Lennon told the Scottish Sun that Arzani would soon be available after getting his match fitness levels up to scratch – starting with the reserves friendly on Tuesday.
“Daniel’s nearly fit,” Lennon said.
“He will get 40 minutes in [reserves friendly] and needs match fitness before coming into the squad.”
Provided the former Melbourne City attacker gets through the friendly unscathed, he will get further minutes in Celtic’s next competitive reserve team fixture against Greenock Morton.
It’s possible Arzani could be involved in the first team squad as soon as September 28’s Scottish Premiership match on the road at Hibernian.
Arzani’s injury absence has allowed several Celtic players to shine in attacking roles, and he is now forced to compete with the likes of James Forrest, Mikey Johnston, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Lewis Morgan, Scott Sinclair, Jonny Hayes and Maryan Shved for a position in the senior squad.
The talented winger is currently on a two-year loan deal at Celtic from Manchester City, after the English champions purchased him from A-League sister club Melbourne City just after the 2018 World Cup.
Former Socceroo goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer wasn’t sure about Arzani’s move to Celtic but believes he is exactly the type of player needed by the national team at the moment.
“The Celtic move is one which I am not sure is the best move for him just yet. But it is about playing games and continuing to develop,” Schwarzer told Goal.
“His injury came at the very worst time as he just arrived and got his first opportunity to play from the start.
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“It was not only unfortunate for his career at Celtic but also for Australia. I just hope that he can get back to the level he was at before his injury.
“He is a huge emerging talent. That’s why Man City signed him. I know he was at their sister club in Melbourne. He is a huge talent. He is very unpredictable.
“We haven’t had a player like that for a very long time.”