NEIL LENNON, the former Celtic manager, delivered a withering assessment of Efe Ambrose's World Cup debut, insisting the Nigerian does not possess the "technique" to play at full-back.

Stephen Keshi's side played out a dreadful 0-0 draw against Iran on Monday evening, providing the first stalemate of a thrilling tournament so far.

The Celtic defender was particularly wasteful, delivering a number of woeful crosses into the box in a frustrating performance.

Loading article content

Lennon, in Brazil working as a pundit for the BBC, jokingly put his poor crossing down to "a curly toe" and felt the display vindicated his decision to use Ambrose primarily as a centre-back during his time in charge at Parkhead.

"You can see why I played him at centre-half at Celtic," said the 42-year-old. "I think Stephen Keshi plays him in that position because he likes to be well-structured defensively, and Efe gives you that. But he doesn't have the technique to cross the ball.

"He is good at coming inside and looking for a shorter pass, but he can't cross the ball. He has what's called 'a curly toe' - you know you want to ping the ball straight but it tends to die towards the end. Efe has one of those, I'm afraid."

Despite only gaining a point against Iran - and looking some way short of the standards set by Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina during the latter's 2-1 win - Lennon believes Nigeria can still progress.

"The one saving grace for Nigeria is that maybe they are better at counter-attacking," he continued. "That may suit Nigeria and give them a chance."