Departure Of Highly Rated Celt, If It’s Coming, Will Sting But Not Hurt.

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The news tonight, I only just read it, that Rocco Vata is on the brink of a move to Verona in Italy is a disappointment but ultimately it is not a great surprise. I think all of us have heard rumours about this and we were all sort of aware that it was going to happen. The club has offered him a new deal and he has yet to sign it. There was no sign that he would.

Too many of our young players think they are ready before they are.

If it’s not them it is those who think there is a short-cut to the big money. Rocco Vata has done exactly nothing in his career so far, nothing of note, nothing of consequence. Why does he deserve more money than his colleagues?

Why does he deserve to play in the first team squad? Who are we dropping to give Rocco Vata more time in games? Whatever goals he wants to pursue, can we honestly say that he would have been pursuing them at Celtic in the immediate future?

I think our progression system is clearly broken. It’s just another way in which this club lacks the strategic thinking to come up with something better than the current system. I’ve said for the last two years that I cannot imagine how playing Lowland League football makes our footballers any better, and so these guys aren’t going to learn new tricks.

But honestly, I am tired of our younger players heading out of Celtic for “better options” and only proving what the club knew and would have sat down and told them; they weren’t remotely ready to be playing first team football every week. That’s as true for Vata as it was for all the others who have taken that route out of our club.

Even Ben Doak, who is probably the best of the bunch in recent years, isn’t near to being completely integrated into the Liverpool squad yet, although I think he’s got an excellent chance of it. The pathway for any young player, unless they have exceptional talent and by that, I mean something that stands out a mile, is long and difficult.

We don’t have a player in the academy team who stands out like that.

If we did then every single one of us would know his name, and there would be no doubt. Two such players – Islam Feruz and Karamoko Dembele – were known to us far in advance of ever watching one of them make an appearance in front of our fans. Feruz only did it once. Dembele had some opportunities. If their talents couldn’t get them there, will Rocco Vata’s?

I am quite calm about this. This isn’t the departure of a Jota or Starfelt or even a James McCarthy, who has had some career, made himself good money and went from playing regularly in Scotland to playing regularly in England.

We look at McCarthy and see the paths not taken, the waste of a great footballer, and wonder whether things would be different if we’d signed him 15 years ago instead of waiting until his career was just about done.

With Vata there is literally nothing to regret.

This isn’t a path not taken, it’s a road barely started on and so there is no body of work or achievement, no memorable games, nothing on which we can base our regrets or use to justify claims that this is a huge loss.

I feel the loss of first team players or that small handful – of which Doak is one – who you expected big, big things from and who disappoint you by making it clear they never wanted to stay.

About this, I feel it will sting but not hurt.

A minor irritant, an annoyance that soon goes away. Look, I’ll wish the kid well and all that … but let’s not pretend we’ve lost a superstar, know it, and have no idea how we’re ever going to replace him.

Whatever else this is, this isn’t that.

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  • Jamie says:

    Find that article quite astonishing when you look at the really poor and embarrassing coaching I’ve watched first hand many a time past two seasons obviously you haven’t for this Bhoy to come through that is a credit to himself not the coaching staff, good luck Rocco hope progress better in your career that you deserve.

  • Johnno says:

    Agreed James the development path for ourselves remains scandalous within Scottish football still.
    Even bigger problem with the 8 Scottish homegrown player rule in place for European competition.
    Actually thought vata was a potential replacement for Forrest within a CL squad?
    Yet how can it really happen, until he becomes a regular within our 1st team squad at SPFL standards?
    Due to the development standards so poor currently within Scottish football it looks like we will have to continue to buy potential Scottish talent, at over inflated fees, to make up the 8 required in future, unless changes are made.
    Currently we could have the likes of turnbull, holding the club to ransom over the situation.
    OK, turnbull can do a job against the lesser team’s within the SPFL, but yet to see much from him in the bigger games within the SPFL, and CL is way out of his depth imo.
    Now turnbull is only one of a few who finds themselves in a similar position with ourselves, and no signs of the current situation ever improving any time soon either.
    It should have been enough to want young players to stay, with a very realistic chance of being involved within CL football with ourselves?
    No longer seems the case nowadays by the looks of things

  • Johnno says:

    James, do you know if a young player like vata, could actually become eligible to be classed as a homegrown player in 2 different countries?
    Not to sure upon the rule myself, yet it could account for losing so many at a young age?


    The big problem is that without youth players coming through where are we going to get
    sufficient home grown talent to meet Eufa’s CL squad criteria?
    Who was the last OUTSTANDING recruit from a Scottish Club.
    Turnbull? Taylor?

    Who out there in the Scottish game would enhance our Squad?

    Answers on the back of a Postage Stamp please.

  • John S says:

    The consequences of ultra-inflation (or unrestrained Capitalism) are that the majority (‘poor’) can’t afford to survive alongside the minority (‘rich’). It’s not good for sportsmen who end up as mere commodities. It’s not good for sport if money, only money, can buy success. All clubs practice this at their own level. The solution is intelligent regulation but this is some way off, though UEFA have made minor inroads with tighter financial regulations.

  • William Melvin says:

    Dude,l love your articles ever since l picked you up On Fields Of Green.
    You’re,by far,the best Celtic blogger on these pages.
    Right up there with Phil.
    Just brilliant work.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t remember the last time we signed some Scottish class ,turnbull 3million I wouldn’t have paid 3million in embassy coupons for him

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