Ange Postecoglou ready to end the Celtic youngsters' Lennoxtown exodus
Ange Postecoglou has admitted it’ll be one of his main goals to help halt the Lennoxtown exodus and keep the top young Celtic talents at Parkhead.
The Hoops have been struck with a concerning raft of players who have made way in recent months. Stretching back to the summer of 2019, we’ve watched on as Liam Morrison, Barry Hepburn, Liam Hughes, Ewan Sparkes, Cameron Harper and Armstrong Okoflex have all left the club despite being highly rated.
There has been plenty of speculation in recent months about others who could be on their way. Vincent Angelini to AC Milan was doing the rounds [Sempre Milan]. Leeds United have also been linked with Leo Hjelde and Matthew Anderson [Yorkshire Evening Post]. Not to mention Nordsjaelland were in talks in the winter about signing Karamoko Dembele [Bold.dk].
However, Postecoglou has admitted he’s all for giving young players an opportunity. Speaking to Celtic fan media on Friday, the new Hoops man outlined his determination to keep our young talent where they are:
“In terms of young players, I’ve already said I just think it’s so important that, one, we’re able to dentify the best young talent. Two, to give them the opportunity. And three, to keep them at our football club.
“It’s the best possible story if you can grab a kid off the terrace who’s eight or nine years old with a Celtic scarf and see him run out here as a senior player one day. Because that means that everybody in that stadium knows his journey.
“So it’s a massive part of, again, what I’ll be focusing on.”
Celtic Lennoxtown exodus will only stop with a clear path and vision for youngsters
The best thing Celtic can do for their young talent is to give them a roadmap to follow. Give them hope and evidence that there’s a pathway available to the first-team for them. Otherwise, players will simply leave and look for opportunities elsewhere.
No matter how hard some of the youngsters have been working in recent times, that route into the first-team has looked almost impossible at times. The likes of Dembele, for example, should have a lot more senior minutes under his belt by now.
But there’s too much protection going on at Celtic. When young players are given an opportunity, there’s no incentive there for them to play well. The reason? Celtic have a real problem with standing by them in the long term. Those who receive opportunities are highly likely to be dropped the next week regardless of how they play.
Look at how impressive Adam Montgomery was at left-back in the penultimate game of the season vs St Johnstone. The next game against Hibs? He was dropped from the starting XI and instead given a cameo appearance. Despite the fact we had nothing left to play for.
Then you have the raft of talented youngsters that barely get a look-in. The likes of Luca Connell and Euan Henderson for example. There needs to be a path for these players.
All we can do is hope that Postecoglou provides it. If he does, Celtic will become a much more exciting place for youngsters to develop their game.