Kundai: I was watching Cup final when I heard of Celtic's interest
KUNDAI Benyu, the latest addition to Brendan Rodgersâ€™ Celtic squad, met up with his new team-mates at the training camp in Austria on Friday night. And the 19-year-old is delighted to have joined the treble-winners, not least because he cheered the Bhoys on to Scottish Cup victory after finding out during that Hampden clash that Celtic were interested in signing him. It made the last 20 minutes of the game particularly exciting for the midfielder, who celebrated Tom Rogicâ€™s last-gasp winner as enthusiastically as every Celtic supporter in the stadium and around the world. Now, heâ€™s looking forward to getting to know the rest of the squad and begin training with them. Speaking exclusively to Celtic TV in Austria, Kundai explained: â€śIt feels fantastic. Itâ€™s a massive club with a great manager and great players so Iâ€™m happy to be a part of it.
â€śI was in my friendâ€™s house in North London actually watching the Scottish Cup final â€“ Celtic and Aberdeen â€“ when my agent called me and told me Celtic were interested. I was speechless and couldnâ€™t believe it. And from then on, it all went pretty quickly.
"During the game I got the call, around 60 to 70 minutes in. After I got that phone-call I was more or less supporting Celtic â€“ and I was buzzing when Celtic scored that late goal, which was a very good goal.â€ť
The highly-rated midfielder was born in London to Zimbabwean parents and grew up in Harlow, Essex. He came through the youth academy set-up at Ipswich Town, and spent last season on loan at Aldershot Town, where his performances alerted several of Englandâ€™s top Premier League clubs. But a combination of Celticâ€™s stature in the game, and Brendan Rodgersâ€™ reputation as manager persuaded him to head to Paradise.
â€śI know Iâ€™m joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, with 60,000 fans at every home game, which is crazy,â€ť he said.
â€śIn my opinion, Celtic are bigger than all of those clubs who were interested in me. And the manager as well persuaded me. The gaffer has helped a lot of young players in the past like Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe, so Iâ€™m hoping to be a part of that list.
â€śThat was the main factor, really, because it shows the gafferâ€™s put faith in me and he trusts that he sees me in his team and that I can improve as a player.
â€śThe boys have all been friendly and welcoming. My ambition is to get into the first-team squad by the start of the season, and do the best that I can and improve as a player under the gaffer.
â€śIâ€™d like to thank the Celtic fans for welcoming me to the club. Theyâ€™ve been very friendly on social media and hopefully I can make everyone happy.â€ťCeltic TV - Exclusive interview with New Bhoy Kundai Benyu
"Cups are not won by individuals, but by men in a team who put their club before personal prestige." Jock Stein