International boss reveals why Celtic star is struggling

The international manager has given a potential reason for why the player has struggled to find his form since joining Celtic in the summer.

Often managers of international sides are able to offer great insight and advice and have a responsibility to look after their players alongside their club managers. It’s worth paying attention to their views and get a feel for what they are thinking in terms of how a player can improve or get back on track.

Celtic have many issues to resolve right now. One of those is their goalkeeper. The current dilemma is who should be first choice between the posts?

The choice appears to be between Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas, with the Greek keeper being the £5 million summer purchase brought in to fill Fraser Forster’s gloves because Bain wasn’t deemed good enough to be a permanent starter.

Now that sounds like an easy decision. Except Barkas hasn’t really shone and is coming under more criticism with every game. Unfortunately, Bain hasn’t looked brilliant either.

Barkas isn’t a bad keeper. But of late he hasn’t shown any real signs of how he can be a good or great keeper. Errors from keepers always look bad as they usually cause goals. He has some of those and doesn’t have much in the credit column when it comes to top saves in order to help balance the situation.

In addition to Celtic his Greece international manager, John van ‘t Schip, has been offering advice to Barkas as reported by the Daily Record. The Greek boss has highlighted points for the keeper to focus on more to turn things around.

That’s where the lightweight point comes in as he places some of the problem on Barkas losing a lot of weight since moving to Celtic:

“Vasilis has now just to concentrate on bouncing back both for Celtic and the national team.

“He lost a lot of weight since he joined Celtic too and I think he needs to adapt to the Scottish way of doing everything.

“By that I mean, the training, the games, the food, the weather, the mentality.

“Part of the job of being a goalkeeper is reacting to the pressure and criticism and I hope he will do that.”

There were rumours on social media that Barkas was asking the club for help with meals in Scotland as apparently neither he nor his wife cooked at home. Who knows if that’s true, he is certainly getting a few roasts of another type online of late!

But whatever is behind the below-par start at Celtic, Barkas had been a very decent keeper at AEK Athens and at times for Greece. Van ’t Schip did show faith in his international keepers abilities:

“You have to remember he was a very good goalkeeper at AEK Athens and did a really good job there.

“I still believe he is still an excellent keeper and he will show that.”

Maybe Celtic fans need to do likewise. It can’t be easy settling in behind a rocky defence allowing so many chances to be fired at you. He probably has more potential for success than Bain, so unless Forster does indeed make an amazing return in January, Barkas is likely to be the man between the sticks.