Osaze Urhoghide chose to move to Celtic despite offers from Premier League clubs because of the “culture” at Parkhead and the chance to develop his game.
The highly-rated 21-year-old moved to the Scottish Premiership side on a four-year contract last week from Sheffield Wednesday following an impressive campaign with the Owls where he made 16 appearances in the Championship.
His performances reportedly attracted interest from a host of European clubs, including Crystal Palace and Leeds United in the English top flight, and Urhoghide’s new manager Ange Postecoglou says the centre-back has the credentials to become a “top player”.
Ahead of facing his former club in a friendly at Dragon Park in Newport, Urhoghide conceded that although Wednesday were relegated to League One last term it was nonetheless a difficult decision to depart Hillsborough, but the Dutch-born player feels he made the correct call concerning his future.
He told Sky Sports News: “It was a hard decision to leave Sheffield Wednesday, it was disappointing last season to go down. I had to weigh up my options to see what would have been best for my career and I ended up choosing Celtic.
“I believe it’s going to be a good move with the culture of the club, the expectation, the manager coming in and with what he wants to do and helping develop the players so it’s a good fit for me.
When asked whether there were Premier League options for him, Urhoghide said: “Yeah there were some teams there, the Premier League would have been nice but it’s also about playing and developing.
“It’s about the manager and the culture of the club and it’s that environment that will help you develop and improve as a player. Celtic had all those options for me.
“All the players are really good, supportive in training and with showing me around the place. It’s great to be here with the new manager, everyone from the team is back basically and it’s just good to get ready for the game tomorrow.”
Shaw: It will be weird facing Sheff Wed
Liam Shaw moved in the same direction as Urhoghide last month after signing a pre-contract agreement back in March, and the midfielder is relishing a Hoops debut against former club Wednesday.
The 20-year-old, who graduated through the Hillsborough academy, signed a four-year contract with the Parkhead club last month and admits it will be “weird” facing his old team.
He told CelticTV: “Hopefully I play well and show the gaffer what I’m about. It’s going to be weird, to be honest, first game Celtic play against Sheffield Wednesday.
“But it’s also going to be just like any other game, when you show on the pitch you don’t think about anything, you just think about winning. I’m looking forward to it.
“I obviously know all the lads really well and they know how I play. But it will be nice to see a few familiar faces.
“I’ll just go in and give it 100 per cent and see how it goes. I reckon it will be a tough game, it won’t be easy at all. They’ve got a lot of good players still there.
“But we’ve got to play our football and play how we want to play and not worry about any other team.”
Welsh: Postecoglou has implemented his authority
Stephen Welsh says Postecoglou has introduced a more attacking style of play since taking the reins at the club and thinks the former Australia boss’ experience could serve the Hoops well going into next season.
The aim will be to reclaim the Premiership from Rangers, who secured the title last season for the first time in a decade.
Welsh said: “We know how he wants us to play, we know how he is as a person so we’re getting to know him as the days go by and the way he wants us to shape up and the training regime that we’ve got.
“He took Australia to the World Cup so that speaks for itself.
“You can definitely sense the standards that he wants for the players and the staff and everyone at the football club as well, so he’s really implemented his authority on the team.
“Every manager is different in the way they play so the style the gaffer wants us to play is really enjoyable and very attacking as well so hopefully we can implement that in the games coming up.”
Postecoglou has begun his refurbishment of the Celtic squad following last season’s frustration when the club finished trophyless.
The former Australia boss handed a new one-year contract to striker Leigh Griffiths, with others expected to follow Urhoghide and Shaw in bolstering the squad before the end of the transfer window.
Celtic are ready to embark on a series of friendlies in preparation for the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round against Danish League runners-up FC Midtjylland.
James Forrest will miss Celtic’s pre-season opener versus Wednesday due to being a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.
The Hoops take on Charlton at the same venue on Saturday and travel to face Bristol City on July 14 before hosting Preston three days later.