Darren O'Dea singles Ben Summers out for praise in Celtic B loss to Blackburn

By Giuseppe Labellarte

February 2, 2023

Celtic B coach Darren O’Dea said Ben Summers was “arguably the best player on the pitch” against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night.

The young Celts saw their Premier League International Cup journey come to an end at the County Ground in Leyland.

Goals from Harry Leonard, Tayo Edun and Sam Burns gave the hosts all three points in their final group game of the competition.

Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images

Mackenzie Carse netted a late consolation for the Hoops as they bowed out of the competition with a win, a draw and two defeats.

‘Loads of quality on show’

Despite failing to reach the quarter-finals, O’Dea was delighted with his side’s efforts on the night.

“I was really pleased with the overall challenge of the game,” he told the official club website.

‘We were delighted with the composure of the boys and the way they stuck to the task – it was a proper test.

“They had a number of first-team players in their side. Which, for our players who are trying to make their way into first-team football, it was a brilliant test.”

O’Dea then said the match proved as close to a first-team match as he and fellow coach Stephen McManus experienced this season.

He also said there were numerous stand out displays, but singled Summer out for particular praise.

“It was probably the most content myself and Stephen have been on the touchline,” O’Dea continued.

“Because if we liken it to a first-team game, that was probably as close to that as we’ve had this year.

“There was a good crowd, great atmosphere and a number of Celtic fans that travelled down which is massively appreciated.

“As a coach, part of our job is to find the right environments and experiences for them to learn in and last night was the perfect environment.

“It was a really tough physical game with loads of quality on show and our players stood up to it brilliantly.

“There were stand out performances but Ben Summers was arguably the best player on the pitch.”

One to watch

Summers is one of the top talents in the Celtic academy. He has been making a real name for himself this season.

The 18-year-old has five goals and three assists from 19 Lowland League outings this term.

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Summers has also made six UEFA Youth League appearances, registering one assist, plus two Challenge Cup outings.

The attacking midfielder penned a contract extension back in September, committing his future to the Hoops until 2025.

Summers is yet to make his senior debut for Celtic but has been featuring in first-team training sessions.

Surely it won’t be long before Ange Postecoglou gives the youngster his first-team debut in green and white.