3 promising youngsters Celtic can improve after Ben Doak departure

By Euan Davidson

March 31, 2022

So, Celtic have lost youngster Ben Doak to Liverpool, after weeks of speculation.

It seemed rather inevitable. And given the number of young players who’ve left Celtic for English clubs, there’ll be reaction, takes, reactions to the takes, finger-pointing, all the rest. Spoiler alert: it’ll get tedious very, very quickly.

Painting the Celtic Academy set up as a disaster that’s sold our best prospect for peanuts doesn’t tell the story, though. Not in the slightest.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Though Celtic categorically need to invest beyond the B Team, there are signs of improvement. Foremost, those signs are from the Celtic B Team, where frighteningly young players have gone up against Lowland League veterans, and made light work of it.

We’re talking Celtic youngsters with undoubted potential; guys who will assuredly be in or around the first-team before too long. Pace, creativity, vision, technique – narrowing this article down to just 3 Celtic youngsters was a challenge in itself.

Surely the better energy is spent on bigging up the players who are here, as opposed to lamenting those who have left?

In that spirit, here are 3 Celtic youngsters who the club can improve after the departure of Ben Doak. And before you ask: Bosun Lawal and Dane Murray were too obvious.

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Josh Dede – a future Scotland and Celtic star

We know the names of Anthony Ralston, Nathan Patterson and Calvin Ramsay. All are young right-backs with bags of potential, who will surely compete for the Scotland national team in the coming years.

Well, add Josh Dede to that list. He’s very recently signed professional terms, and watching him play for the B Team, it’s no shock Celtic want to keep him.

More than capable of playing the inverted full-back role, Dede loves taking players on, fitting into the midfield, or overlapping with endless stamina. In the Glasgow Cup, he was taking on opposing left-backs, and his ability to dominate flanks allows other wide players to overload central areas.

Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

With excellent technique and solidity in the tackle, Dede’s overall game reading could use improvement but that’s inevitable given his tender years.

Skilful on the ball, and hard-working off it, Dede is perfectly equipped for the high-intensity pressing game the Celtic first-team play. What’s more, not unlike Ben Doak, Dede looks utterly fearless in possession. His recent performances have shown real potential.

Ralston and Juranovic might have substantial competition before too long; this Celtic youngster will be ready for the big-time soon.

Rocco Vata – it can’t be long before Celtic first-team calls for talented Ireland youngster

Let’s get one thing very, very clear.

It’d be easy to point at Rocco Vata and suggest there’s nepotism at play. That his name stands him out above other players in his age group. Perhaps, I hear you say, he’s had doors opened for him because his Dad played for Celtic.

That’d be the opinions of someone who’s never watched Rocco Vata in full flight. At his best, the guy is frightening.

Adept on either wing, but just as good centrally, Vata has technique that surpasses his tender years. Eligible for Scotland, Ireland or Albania, the midfielder has shone for Ireland’s U17s.

Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The other night, he turned a game on its head for the Boys in Green, against Bulgaria, but anyone watching the Celtic B Team this season won’t have been shocked.

Vata has said of his love for the club [Celtic FC]: “Celtic is a big part of my life because when I was born my dad played for them.

“I’d always watch them in my free time. Celtic has always been in my heart.”

Meanwhile, B Team boss Tommy McIntyre has told 67 Hail Hail: “He’s very quiet.

“He’s very humble, very down to Earth, very grounded, and I’m sure that comes from his parents, who I know well.

“So, again, you’ve got that experienced head that can advise him as being there before. I think it would be unfair to always challenge him and put [his surname] against him. He’s got to cut his own pathway, and he’s done really well.”

Tsoanelo Letsosa – the underrated Celtic youngster who rejected Brendan Rodgers

Here’s another player we could’ve lost to the Premier League.

Tsoanelo Letsosa has been a big name in the Celtic Academy set up for a number of years now. Another midfielder, Letsosa has made a bigger name for himself with his B Team performances. Check out this goal against Queens Park last month for an example.

Back in 2020, Brendan Rodgers tried to pinch the Celtic youngster for his Leicester City [Mercury], but the youngster signed terms later that year [Celtic FC]. That’s good news for us, and make no mistake.

Tidy in possession with a cannon of a shot on him, Letsosa may not garner the headlines like Doak, Moffat or Vata. He is another of Celtic’s crowded young midfield, however, but he has the technique and eye for a pass which truly sets him apart.

Don’t be surprised to even see Letsosa make the bench for the Celtic for the first-team this season.

Read more: McCall trots out laughable excuse for rivals in last derby; irony won’t be lost on Celtic fans