Celtic sanction Monday night move for "highly valued" Ben Wylie

By David Walton

January 26, 2021

Celtic last night sanctioned a season-long loan move for young midfielder Ben Wylie.

Wylie will spend the rest of the campaign with Ballymena United in Northern Ireland, his new club confirmed last night.

This will be Wylie’s first senior loan move after signing a new Celtic contract extension back in January [Belfast Live]. And now he joins the team his father, Keith, also turned out for during his playing days.

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey sounded delighted to get the deal done, as he claimed the left-back is “highly valued’ back at Lennoxtown.

Speaking to Ballymena’s official website, Jeffrey said: “Just like Trai Hume, he’s a Ballymena lad who started here and moved to Linfield before progressing to a professional move across to Celtic where he is highly valued by all their coaching staff.

“Through our contacts, we were made aware that it may be possible for Ben to come home and spend some time here. There were other options available to him and plenty of interest in him but we said how we would look after him and develop his game further, it is well evidenced how we are prepared to give the young players an opportunity here, and he himself is an outstanding talent and to get someone of his ability is fantastic.

“He’s a superb young man and we are so pleased to have him. We’re thankful to Chris McCart (Head of Celtic Youth Academy) and to Celtic and his agent Brian Adair for making this happen for Ben to come here and we trust that his time here will be mutually beneficial, that he will enjoy getting back into training and football and hopefully we as his home town can reap the benefits of that this season.”

A big season in store for Celtic youngster Ben Wylie

This is a huge campaign for Wylie. If he wants to make himself a Celtic regular in the long-term, he’ll have to turn up well in Northern Ireland. Especially given the difference in quality between the likes of Ballymena and Celtic.

Even so, Celtic should be doing this for a number of their youngsters. Senior football will always trump reserve football. Given our youths also don’t play in the SPFL Reserve League, it makes sense to send them out.

Already this January, Celtic have recalled the likes of Scott Robertson and Ross Doohan. However, we haven’t utilised them at all – which makes you question why they were brought back in the first place.

Celtic youngster Ben Wylie in action against Germany under-19s (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for DFB)

Celtic could do with finding the vast majority of their young talents loan moves. At the moment, the likes of Karamoko Dembele, Armstrong Oko-Flex, and Ewan Henderson aren’t doing much. They don’t get enough opportunities to get competitive minutes under their belts.

Wylie’s move is a good example of what Celtic should be doing all over Lennoxtown. There’s a raft of talent there that needs developed both physically and mentally. Sending them to other clubs is a key part of that process.

Just ask the likes of Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie, and Callum McGregor.

In other news, Celtic have reportedly been offered an experienced former Ligue 1 midfielder.