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Congerton joins Celtic; Midfielders get international nods, but versatility may rule another out

In this evening's news roundup: Lee Congerton, former Sunderland Director of Football, has joined Glasgow Celtic as Head of Player Recruitment; and two midfielders get international nods, but one other may have hampered his chances as a result of his own versatility.

Congerton confirmed as recruitment head at Celtic

Former Sunderland Director of Football, Lee Congerton, has been confirmed as Celtic's new Head of Recruitment.

The 42-year-old was placed on gardening leave from his position at the Stadium of Light in December 2015 having handed in his notice two month's prior when Dick Advocaat left his post as manager.

Congerton saw out his 12-month period in exile to the end of last year and had been linked with roles in China and the MLS. The Welshman previously worked as head of scouting with Celtic boss, Brendan Rogers, at Chelsea when the ex-Liverpool manager was reserve team manager at Stamford Bridge.

Celtic have been hunting for a new recruitment supremo since John Park stepped down and headed for America. The Glasgow giants are thought to have approached Huddersfield's Stuart Webber and Southampton's Ross Wilson before offering the role to Congerton.

Larsson called up by Sweden

Sebastian Larsson has earned a recall to the Sweden set-up after a seven month absence. The Sunderland midfielder has been named in a 22-man squad which will face Belarus in a World Cup Qualifier on the 25th March before travelling to Madeira for a friendly with Portugal a few days later.

Republic of Ireland v Sweden - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016
Sebastian Larsson getting in a bit of a ruck at Euro 2016 with Irish teammate John O'Shea acting as peacemaker.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The 31-year-old missed seven international fixtures during the Autumn after undergoing knee surgery following Euro 2016.

Larsson's return to the Sunderland starting eleven has forced him right back into national team coach Janne Andersson's thinking and the midfielder can claim his 88th and 89th international caps in the games to be held later this month.

However, his showings in a struggling side at the bottom of the Premier League may not have helped his chances of making the Swedish starting eleven.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
Larsson up against Sergio Aguero in Sunderlands last match
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Observers in Sweden believe Marcus Rohden - who plies his trade for Serie A side Croton - will continue in the centre or right of midfield, the traditional slots that Larsson has occupied in his near-decade long reign as the king of the middle for Svenska.

The Sunderland man may have to settle for a place on the bench in upcoming international matches, particularly with Sweden - who have failed to qualify for the last two World Cup Finals - rebuilding its squad as it attempts to cement a spot at Russia 2018.

Coach Andersson commented on his options in a press conference this afternoon, and make much of his vision of building a "new team" made up of younger players particularly since the retirement from international football of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


Asoro gets Under-21 nod

Larsson's teammate Joel Asoro has also been called up by Sweden, in his case to the Under-21 squad. He is part of a 22-man group which will face Serbia and the Czech Republic during the upcoming international break.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Joel Asoro playing against Saturday's opponents, Burnley, in the FA Cup Third Round in January
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Asoro made his debut for the Swedish Under-21s last September and has made three appearances since, having represented his country at Under-16 and Under-17 levels. The 17-year-old joins former Sunderland prospect David Moberg-Karlsson in the set-up.

Now 22-years-old, Moberg-Karlsson arrived with high hopes at the Stadium of Light in June 2013 but his stint on Wearside saw him fail to establish himself and he recently signed for Swedish top flight side IFK Norrkoping.


Denayer's versatility may have cost him a place for Belgium

Meanwhile, the very feature which has made Jason Denayer so appealing to David Moyes this season may end up hampering his international prospects.

The Manchester City centre-half, on loan at the Stadium of Light, has proven his versatility lining up at the heart of defence and midfield when called upon this campaign.

Indeed, Denayer has played more games in central midfield than in the centre of defence for Sunderland.

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League
Jason Denayer competing for Sunderland against Southampton last month
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

And with a defensive crisis facing Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, the former Everton manager has today suggested that Denayer's outings in midfield may have actually hampered his hopes of slotting in seamlessly at the back for his country.

Belgium are likely to be without their star defender, Nicolas Lombaerts, for games against Greece and Russia. The Zenit St Petersburg centre-half has been ruled out and with others looking doubtful, Martinez appears to have also ruled out Denayer's chances of taking up a defensive berth for his country currently:

Nicolas Lombaerts does not play, Vincent Kompany is slowly coming back, Thomas Vermaelen plays little, Christian Kabasele is injured and will gradually return, Jason Denayer plays for his club in the middle ... It's hard for some, that's obvious.