Brendan Rodgers speaks glowingly of Celtic's young Irish defender Eoghan O'Connell

Centre-back could see some Champions League action

Eoghan O'Connell, Celtic

Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell during the 2016 International Champions Cup match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture by: Jane Barlow / PA Wire/Press Association Images

As Celtic prepare for their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against Astana of Kazakhstan, Brendan Rodgers has a defensive injury crisis to contend with.

But opportunity could knock as a result for young Irish defender Eoghan O'Connell who has been capped by the Ireland under-21s.

The 20-year-old centre-back, who has made a handful of Scottish Premiership appearances since making his debut in 2014, has impressed Rodgers in pre-season, scoring against Leicester at the weekend.

The former Liverpool manager has said as much.

"I have been really impressed with him over the course of the pre-season," he said of a Cork-born player who is a cousin of ex-Ireland rugby captain Paul O'Connell.

"He is a good size, first and foremost he wants to defend and in the short period I have worked with him, he is good in the air.

"He has been in and around the first team for a few years now. He was up against tough opponents at the weekend, even though Leicester have only been back a few weeks, they come back already fit and I thought Eoghan coped with that very well, the speed of their team.

"He has a brain for football, he understands the game very well for a young player and importantly he plays the game well. For a young player, if they show those qualities and professionalism I never have any fears of putting him in."