by a Sunday Express Reporter
Neil lennon hopes Efrain Juarez’s Gold Cup heroics with Mexico will help give him the confidence and belief to come back and show he can be a winner at Celtic.
Juarez, who arrived in a blaze of glory from UNAM Pumas, looked a star in the opening games but then lost his way and hardly featured as Celtic lifted the Scottish Cup and pushed Rangers all the way in the SPL.
The former Barcelona youngster, who will return to pre-season training next week after playing every game in Mexico’s Gold Cup win, still has a lot to do to show Lennon he should be playing in front of Beram Kayal, Joe Ledley, Ki Sung-Yueng and Kris Commons in the Parkhead engine room.
“I paid money for him and I want him to be successful here but he is going to have to kick on a little bit to get to where
the other four were last year,” Lennon warned.
“He found it hard to adjust to the speed of the game.
“He’s not homesick, but maybe he needs to adapt more to the physical side of the Scottish game, like Ki did when he first came in.
“He has had a year at it and hopefully he will come back better for it.
“He’s a tough wee guy, tougher than he looks and he also has a good mentality. He has not complained once about finding it hard to make the team.”
Juarez has already been linked with moves away from Parkhead.
Spanish side Real Zaragoza tried to get him on a loan for next season but that has been turned down.
“Once he adjusts to the Scottish game he will be fine,” said Lennon. “I am not in any rush to sell him or anything like that.
“I’m really looking for him to push the rest of the lads this season.
“I will speak to him when he gets back and then see how he is feeling, but I am sure he will be feeling pretty good after their Gold Cup win.”
The Mexican played at right-back during his side’s Gold Cup triumph and Lennon admitted that is something he might look at club-wise.
“He had a good Gold Cup by all accounts, predominantly playing at right-back,” said Lennon
“He did say to me at the start of last season he would prefer playing midfield, but it’s a position we’ll look at because it might be another string to his bow.”
Courtesy of the Scottish Sunday Express