Celtic B Team star Rocco Vata receives second Ireland U17 call-up

By Euan Davidson

September 29, 2021

Celtic B Team sensation Rocco Vata has again been called up to the Republic of Ireland U17s by manager Colin O’Brien.

Vata, who would be eligible for any of Scotland, Ireland or Albania, has played at Irish youth level twice. With the latest call-up, he becomes one of just 3 non-Ireland based players selected for duty [Irish Examiner].

Vata joins Villarreal man Caden McLoughlin and Inter Milan prospect Kevin Zefi in that particular distinction. The young boys in Green take on Andorra, North Macedonia and Poland over the October fixtures.

Vata has been lighting up the SLFL with a series of accomplished performances. Still just 15, the son of 90s Celtic man Rudi has impressed Tommy McIntyre and fans alike with his dynamic displays.

If he’s able to continue his momentum, it’d be no surprise to see Vata knocking on the door of the under 19s before too long.

Last month, McIntyre described Vata as a quiet, determined lad, who’s “moving in the right direction” with the B Team. Although he’s still developing his slight frame, he’s had little issue going up against SLFL veterans.

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He’s even scoring goals in the process.

His strike against Berwick Rangers was recognised as one of August’s best Celtic strikes [Celtic FC/YouTube]. A powerful effort at a difficult angle, it gave the opposition keeper absolutely zero chance.

Ireland fans will be delighted with having Celtic youth star Rocco Vata in their ranks

While his surname has given him some extra attention, it doesn’t seem to have affected Vata particularly.

Despite his tender years, he’s already had an impact at youth level for Ireland. In five U15 appearances, he scored once, and he’ll be making his second U17 camp in the coming break [Transfermarkt].

You have to wonder if Scotland or Albania selectors have been watching with interest. Given the sheer depth of midfield talent we’re seeing from Scotland in recent years, you can’t help but wonder if Vata will be fielding calls from the SFA in the years to come.

Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Focused, skilled and seemingly with an excellent head on his shoulders, Vata can be just as hyped as his counterparts from Villarreal or Inter Milan. Stepping up with relative ease to the semi-professional level, there’ll be fans clamouring for a first-team opportunity before too long.

But for now, Vata’s got to take it all in his stride. More international breaks mean more experience with different coaches and players, against the next generation of world talents.

Read more: Ange Postecoglou hits out at Celtic performance narrative