Celtic’s interest in Manchester City centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis makes a lot of sense

Only 20 years old reported that Celtic centre-half Taylor Harwood-Bellis already has a good level of experience under his belt.

Although he has yet to play an official match for Manchester City, Harwood-Bellis has already played for two Championship clubs, at Blackburn Rovers (19 appearances) and most recently Stoke City (24 appearances), and has also gained experience playing for Anderlecht. (19 appearances) with Vincent Kompany in the Jupiler Pro-league. And let’s be honest, there’s not much about defense that Vincent Kompany hasn’t experienced in his career, so it was certainly a wise move for City to place the player under the watchful eye of the former City captain.

At Anderlecht, Harwood-Bellis also played in the Champions League qualifiers, and is also clearly highly regarded internationally, having represented England from U15 to U21, where he also captained his country. And in the Under 23 category with City, the player has played 40 more games.

The youngster who stands at just over 6ft 1, is a dexterous centre-half, having played as a central defender on both the left and right sides so far in his burgeoning career, with his career map showing a passing player. most of his time as a left central defender, although not on his natural foot.

His key strengths appear to be strong positional play, a good read of the game and a defender who scores high on both concentration and timely interceptions. And while he’s a player who likes to take on opposition forwards, it seems that tackling straight up isn’t a strong point, with Harwood-Bellis preferring to sit back a bit, intercept or look to win second balls rather than rush straight up. with your opponent. he averages 1.0 tackles per game, but that rises to 1.9 in interceptions.

One thing that stands out about Taylor Harwood-Bellis is that he is a footballing central defender, who likes to pass from behind and can do it accurately, as well as being a player who doesn’t flinch when he has to carry the ball. From his defensive positions and looking to break the lines, he has a 70% success rate on passes in the opposite half, excellent figures for a central defender, along with an 87% success rate in his own half. His clearance rate is also impressive, almost 4.0 per game, which shows that he can defend his own box and play around a bit.

And if there were a couple of things missing from Celtic’s defensive stats last season, passing the ball beyond a few yards stood out, as did the willingness and comfort to get the ball downfield. On both sides of the game, Harwood-Bellis would perhaps add extra layers and more options to Celtic’s attacks starting from the defence. As such, he could very well complement what we have, but also add something we were missing to the mix.

Whether Celtic are interested in Taylor Harwood-Bellis remains to be seen – after all, it’s hard to see Celtic using the loan market without the deal including a purchase option – and City have so far not included such options in their three previous loans. does it move

It may also be that Mark Lawwell joined Celtic from City, that the link stems solely from that connection, much like Ko Itakura’s repeat links to Celtic after a loan spell with Schalke.

However, like his Manchester City colleague Harwood-Bellis, he offers a skill set that is missing from Celtic’s defensive toolkit at present and despite being only 20, the youngster is at a good level. From experience already gained at three clubs in two different leagues, as such we already know that the player is capable of performing at a decent level of competition.

I wouldn’t be too interested in Celtic taking on Harwood-Bellis without a purchase option included, as it simply blocks a path plan for our own youngsters and we would be progressing as a talent for another club, while at the same time stunting our own team’s long-term development simply by having to look at alternative options next summer.

Captain Taylor Harwood-Bellis of England scores a point during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying match between England Under-21 and Andorra Under-21 on March 25, 2022 in Bournemouth (Photo by Mike Hewitt/ GettyImages)

But if that purchase option could be agreed upon, like Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota this season, the try-before-you-buy approach might well pay off, because Taylor Harwood-Bellis looks like a defender who has some of the attributes that us He has been lacking our current defensive options and looks like a player who could have a great future ahead of him.

And finally, here’s what former boss Tony Mowbray had to say about Harwood-Bellis during his loan spell with Blackburn ATVs.

“Taylor has a defensive instinct, a warrior attitude and is someone who wants to win headers and tackles. He wants to commit; he’s cool on the ball and he’s got a lot of really good attributes.”

niall j

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