Ipswich Town winger Bersant Celina ready for physicality of Championship
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Bersant Celina insists appearances can be deceptive after strengthening his claim for a first-team place at Ipswich Town for the Blues’ home clash with bottom side, Bolton Wanderers, on Saturday.
The Kosovo-born winger who turned 21 on Saturday, scored a superb late consolation for Town in their 2-1 defeat at Queen’s Park Rangers at the weekend, and showed enough in his brief 14-minute cameo to suggest he could be a real find for Mick McCarthy’s team.
Having been hit by illness since his arrival on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City, Celina’s game-time has been limited, his only starts for the club coming in the Carabao Cup, at Luton and Crystal Palace.
He spent last season playing for FC Twente Enschede in the Dutch top-flight and scored five goals in 28 appearances, terrorising defences, despite his slight figure.
His build could be perceived as being at odds with the physical nature of the Championship – an ultra-competitive division that takes no prisoners – but the midfielder says he has all the tools to be a hit in the second tier.
“It’s a lot quicker and more physical than the Eredivisie (Dutch league) and the players are better as well, there are more young players playing over there – it’s different here,” Celina revealed.
“People think I’m not the player to play in a league like this. I am, and I just need to get the dirty part of my game and keep playing well.
“I’m a bit small and skinny, but I am smart and I am technically good and can play football.
“All I have got to do is work hard and try and win the ball.
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“When I get the ball, it is not an issue.”
Celina was fielded on the left-wing when he made his bow as a late substitute at Loftus Road, but in comfortable with both feet and scored with a powerful right-foot shot that curled around Alex Smithies in the home goal.
Asked what his best position was, Celina explained: “I am more of an attacking midfielder, playing in behind the striker, but I can play right-wing, left-wing, striker, everywhere.
He added: “We have some good technical players at the club, along with myself, and we can hopefully use that in the next couple of games.”