Dale loan Celtic starlet

Thompson returns to England in loan switch

Thompson: Dale delight

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Rochdale have boosted their defensive options with the signing of Celtic youngster Josh Thompson on a season-long loan deal.

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The 19-year-old moved to the Scottish giants from Stockport last summer and made 18 league appearances for the Bhoys last season.

But last week skysports.com revealed that manager Neil Lennon was willing to let the Bolton-born centre-back go out on loan.

A host of Premier League and Championship clubs were interested, although it was Dale who managed to secure his services.

The Greater Manchester outfit earned promotion to League One last season but have seen a number of that squad move on this summer, including centre-back Nathan Stanton.

Thompson made nine appearances in League One for Stockport in the 2008/09 season and manager Keith Hill believes that experience will be a valuable asset to Dale's survival hopes.

"Josh is an excellent signing for us," he told the club's official website. "He's still young but he is an outstanding talent and he is a player we believe we can develop and give first-team opportunities.

Competition for places

"He has presence and speed, and he is an England Under-19 international too. He's a good profile player for us.

"He has experience after playing for Celtic last season and he has come to fight for a place at Rochdale.

"It gives us good competition for places because we are short in that department.

"Craig Dawson and Marcus Holness have done very well so far but we definitely need another central defender and he is a quality signing."