Swansea star Bersant Celina defiant in wake of horror penalty – and will take one against Man City

BERSANT CELINA’S reply is defiant when he is asked about taking a penalty tonight.

His midweek spot-kick at West Brom went viral as his standing foot gave way and he scuffed the ball sideways.

But he insisted: “That won’t stop me if there is a penalty in this game.”

It could go to a shootout against his old team Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium and Celina is ready to step up.

The Swansea midfielder had a gut feeling ahead of the sixth-round draw that it would be a big week and he would be facing the team he left in the summer.

Celina, 22, did not foresee being in the spotlight over his penalty but it will take more than that slip for him to lose focus.

He said: “Obviously it has been all over the media. For me, it is easy to get it out of my mind.

“At the time it wasn’t funny because we are trying to win games and that is the most important thing.

“I’ll use it as motivation in the future to get better but in the future I will find it funny and will laugh at it. It’s just unlucky. I just slipped.”

For Celina, it is easy to put a bizarre penalty miss into context after his career so far.

It started in Norway after leaving war-torn Kosovo.

He battled crippling homesickness when he first arrived at City as a teenager.

And then he made tough decisions over getting regular football while out on loan instead of training with some of the best players in the world at the Etihad.

Now he is still on his journey back to the Premier League and felt it was inevitable he would face City.

He said: “I watched the draw on TV and said it would be so typical if those two numbers came up first — and that is what happened.

“It is mixed feelings. It is a tough game but happy as well because I wanted to play against a big team and you can’t get any bigger than City.”

The move to City seven years ago was tough because he was away from his parents Eduar and Mimoza, who are travelling over for tonight’s tie.

Staying in digs with a local family, he was told that going to school was compulsory, which he had not banked on.

He said: “I didn’t know I was going to college so that was a bit of a shock for me.

“I had to wear a uniform. It wasn’t for me really.

“It was hard not being with my family. I was young and wasn’t able to see my friends.

“It was a completely different life. I had to go to college and that was different for me. Language. A different culture.

“There were hard times for me when I almost ended up going back, it was that difficult. It was the passion for football that kept me going.”

It will be an emotional reunion today for Celina after he eventually settled at City and made first-team appearances under Manuel Pellegrini.

He said: “When I first came, I had Gareth Taylor as a coach and he was like a dad to me, invited me over to his house. He treated me really well and helped me a lot.

“I was with a family when I arrived and they are really nice. Strict but very nice and it was a good experience.

“I felt I got into the Manchester community.

“We did education in the Academy for the next two years, which was all right and it got easier with time. By the end I felt that Manchester was my home.”

Other City youngsters have looked away from the club to kick-start their careers.

Jadon Sancho arrived when Celina was at the club and is now at Borussia Dortmund, while Rabbi Matondo is a rival at Schalke and Brahim Diaz moved to Real Madrid.

Celina said: “It is difficult. There is no shame for any of the young players to go out and play regular games.

“It is a really good thing, actually. They get the best football education through the Academy, so I am not saying that people shouldn’t go to City in the first place.”

Celina also trained with Pep Guardiola last summer in pre-season.

He sees a similarity with Swans boss Graham Potter as they are both big talkers on the training pitch.

City are coming off the back of Champions League action and that is where Celina wants to end up.

He added: “I wouldn’t be playing football if it wasn’t to try to reach for the top.

“Every young player, if you want to do well, you have to have that attitude.

“You cannot be happy or comfortable in a lower league.”

Clearly, one penalty miss is never going to put him off.



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