Exclusive: Former Celtic youth captain Sam Wardrop provides insight into academy opportunities

By Euan Davidson

May 11, 2021

Former Celtic youth captain, and current Tiktok sensation Sam Wardrop insists that if you’re good enough, you’ll play for the first-team.

Having made waves on TikTok, Wardrop is a fashionable name in Scottish football, currently. Now at Dumbarton, the ex-Bhoys Academy talent has over 36,000 followers on the platform. His insights into the life of a footballer have clearly made for popular viewing.

Although it looked for the world that Wardrop would break into the first-team reckoning at Celtic, it didn’t happen. A move to Dundee United in 2018 seemed shrewd [Sun], but it didn’t quite happen for Wardrop on Tayside, either [Courier]. A very self-aware, articulate guy, Wardrop has interesting insights on his career so far, including a perspective on the set-up at Lennoxtown.

Speaking to 67 Hail Hail’s Hamish Carton, for an upcoming video, Wardrop was asked about the progression of youth players. There’s been frustration about Academy prospects not getting into the first team, but Wardrop argues it’s a case of having enough quality.

The former Celtic Academy player said:

“I think no matter what club you go to, especially when you move up the ladder, it’s just harder. The standard’s really high. And to be honest with you, every player who’s at Celtic, every youth player, will know that if he’s good enough, and he performs well, he will get a chance.

“If you’re a good enough player, you’ll play. It’s not like there’s not opportunities there, there are. If you’re good enough, if the manager trusts you from watching you play youth games, training with the first-team, maybe playing some friendlies in pre-season, you will get an opportunity.

“It’s completely a trust thing. But also, if you’re good enough, you will play. There’s always going to be signings coming in. If signings aren’t made, the standard drops generally. You always have to keep things moving. As a youngster, you just have to be honest with yourself as well.”

Former Celtic youth player Sam Wardrop / (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Former Celtic youngster gives fascinating insight on life at club, as well as successful TikTok page

Pretty frank words from Wardrop, there.

Not one to sugarcoat, the defender and former Youth captain isn’t sitting around moaning about what could’ve been. In his time, he saw talents like Mikey Johnstone progress to the first-team. Wardrop’s best moment in the Green and White came in 2017, when goals from himself, Aidan McIlduff and Calvin Miller secured a 3-0 win over Rangers in the Youth Cup Final [BBC].

While it didn’t happen for Wardrop, he doesn’t seem to have any bitterness about the experience. If anything, he’s grateful for the opportunity to learn about the life of a footballer. He’s now imparting his wisdom via a Podcast, and Instagram, as well as his successful TikToks.

Just 23, Wardrop could still feasibly rise up the Scottish football pyramid again. At the very least, he’s a smart and well-spoken young footballer, who clearly has a strong understanding of the game from a personal and tactical perspective. Subscribe to the 67 Hail Hail YouTube channel to see Wardrop’s interview with Hamish.

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