If Celtic’s Promising Youth Talent Is Good Enough, He’ll Be A First Team Player.

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This weekend saw the latest appearance from one of our most promising young players, Rocco Vata, son of our former player Rudi Vata and one of the hottest prospects we have in the academy. He is a fine football, and he may be on the brink of his chance.

For a while now, Rocco Vata has tantalised us with possibility. I have only written about him a couple of times because, frankly, I’m leery about writing about any of our youth prospects these days. So many of them have let us down and let themselves down by showing great promise and either never fulfilling it or leaving before it blossomed.

Few who have left have done well out of the arrangement. That has to be said, and especially in light of talk that Vata might be the next to depart without having made a significant impact on the first team squad. People in the media keep on talking about how Celtic’s current signing policies stand in the way of youth players breaking through … but think on that for a second.

Would we spend millions on players if there was someone in the B team who was blowing the competition away every week and so obviously looked like a cut above? We do give opportunities to players in the under 21’s, but those players need to be exceptional to cement a place. They need to be able to offer something more than just hype.

Celtic has never put up barriers against our young footballers. Why in God’s name would we? If there were four or five talents in the academy who were worthy of first team football we would welcome that with open arms as we did with Forrest, McGregor, Tierney, Ralston and Johnston. It’s not in anyone’s interests for us to stand in the way of players like that. Ange would love to have a core group of them in the squad.

So I think we’re all hoping that Rocco Vata is the real deal, and that he’s the one who is finally able to break through and cement a place. It would be fantastic to see the emergence of a footballer of real quality from the ranks of the youth side.

But we’ve seen this film before, with the likes of Aiden Nesbit, Karamoko Dembele, Islam Feruz, Calvin Miller and a host of others. That’s just a handful of names off the top of my head. We’ve missed out on a few, like Aaron Hickey, but in the main … yeah, it’s been a while since there was an obvious superstar, a break-through talent who could really do it.

Some would say we are due one. If Rocco Vata is it then that will be welcomed by each and every fan, and no matter what some of the hacks might think, Celtic will not put up a single obstacle to his progression. In fact, Ange would like nothing more than to see it.

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  • S Thomas says:

    We have been guilty of this in the past though with not giving them a chance.. Andy Robertson, Aaron Hickey, and Shay Given are the 3 that were glaring mistakes. I do think a lot of managers like to get there own players in.. which Ange has done with the Asian market, and it does make you wonder what’s happening with the boys who are allready there. Hopefully young Vata saves us a few quid in the seasons ahead.

    • Johnny Green says:

      Nice try Sean, but a hun trying to talk about Celtic, just doesn’t work very well.

      Fail, Fail

      • S Thomas says:

        I think I made a fantastic point like I always do. I think my points are arguably the best on this blog . Stop using the word hun all the time., it’s bigoted. Show some manners please .

        • Johnny Green says:

          I use the word hun Sean because I know it always gets to you. I don’t know any Celtic fan who dislikes that terminology, which suits them so very well.

          The only ones who hate it are……. 🙂 I rest my case.

  • Jimmy says:

    Friends with his mum so hopefully he will continue to progress. Like the big centre half as well. Both travelled to Australia so clearly Ange thinks they have a chance.

  • SSMPM says:

    It’s far to simplistic to say that we’ve been guilty of this in the past. A few players have went on to become good players in other teams but that, as is evident with Robertson, Given and Hickey, happened to be some years later. They were clearly not assessed to be ready at the embryonic stage in their careers for first team football, developing and maturing later. Using Hickey’s advancement as an example he even had the opportunity to come back and chose not to. So are you really saying we should keeep them on our limited budget in the hope that they will, we’d have lost out on a lot of others financially if that was the case. It is what it is, risk management

    • Johnny Green says:

      Yes, there are s lot of ifs and buts when dealing with young players. Given left and went to Blackburn for three years and only made 2 appearances for them although he was loaned out, It wasn’t until he went to Newcastle that he matured and flourished as goalkeepers tend to do as they get older. However it’s not something that you can determine in advance. Hickey was back and forth between Celtic and Hearts, decided on Hearts but was off as soon as he got a decent offer, a young man with the mind to do his own thing. Robertson, well was he really the one that got away? At the age of 15 he was let go, was he just a late developer or was someone asleep at the wheel, we will never know.

      • S Thomas says:

        Nope Andy Robertson didn’t make the grade at Celtic because he was told he lacked height, it was nothing to do with his development. I still find that baffling when you consider the height of Jimmy Johnstone , or a Billy Bremner etc. The scout or the development guy at the time was talking garbage as far as I’m concerned. Andy Robertson is 1 of the best full backs in world football. Listen we do a lot right as a club, but Calum Mcgregor and Kieran Tierney were the last 2 who came through think it’s about time someone else came through. There is no point in bringing these guys into the squad unless they are going to feature.

  • Eire goCeltic says:

    Ange gave Ben Doak two runs. Now 17 y old, Ben has played in one or two senior Liverpool games as a sub. The Press say Liverpool unearthed him. He wanted to go to Liverpool. Ben has been running riot for Liverpool U21’s. When he left Celtic, he was nowhere ready for senior football. I have no idea if Ben could play right wing, but if Liel leaves in the near future, Ben may have got an opportunity if he stayed. Ange was generous to Ben. No point crying over spilt milk.

  • Benjamin says:

    I hope you’re right James.

    With UEFA squad registration rules being what they are, 8 members of the squad are required to be Scottish, and a minimum of 4 have to be from Celtic’s academy. It’s almost cliche at this point to say ‘the jersey doesn’t shrink’ but the reality for the academy kids is that they’re not competing with Kyogo, Jota, Abada, or Alastair Johnston for a place in the squad. Nope. Instead they’re competing with the existing 8 homegrown players for one of those homegrown slots. Forrest, McGregor, Turnbull, Ralston, and Taylor are clearly there on merit (although Forrest won’t be there for too much longer given his age and decline). So there’s 3-4 spots that are wide open and are right now occupied by player who are technically in the first team but aren’t anywhere near actually playing in this squad – Stephen Welsh, Scott Bain, Dane Murray, Owen Moffat occupy those places currently. That’s basically squad filler to satisfy a UEFA quota and nothing more.

    Longer term I can definitely see a scenario where Mikey Johnston comes back from loan and takes Forrest’s place on this list, but after that it’s slim pickings unless some players from the academy step up. I really hope Vata (and Ben Summers, among other prospects) are good enough to actually play to play in this Celtic team. Swapping out Owen Moffat or Dane Murray in exchange for newer names to fill the ‘squad filler’ roles is not progress. But I fear that’s exactly what’s happening.

  • Johnny Green says:

    S Thomas thinks the word ‘hun’ is bigoted……really?

    I wonder why that is?

    • S Thomas says:

      I’ve never really liked the word fenian or hun.. I like to think people have a bit more to them than that. I go by the old don’t judge a book by its cover motto. My old man and my old dear taught me that from a boy.. it always helped me. I can sit in anybody’s company. My friends are both Celtic and Rangers fans and there is no carryon, we try and stay away from all that other bigotry garbage. The problem with west of Scotland culture is they are to focused on a ‘fenian bastard’ and an ‘orange hun bastard’ . I mean they ain’t the nicest of sayings are they. What happened to love thy neighbour Jonny. Did they not learn you that at mass ?

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