Karamoko Dembele’s talents have been thrust into the spotlight once again after scoring for England’s under-17s this week, and John Kennedy has been quick to praise him.
The Celtic assistant manager has claimed that the club is “very excited” with what Dembele has to offer. He became the second-youngest Celtic player ever when he made his debut against Hearts on trophy day last season. Dembele was aged just 16 years and 86 days old.
He didn’t quite manage to break the record for the youngest ever Celt, however. That honour belongs to Jack Aitchison, who made his debut 15 days younger than Karamoko.
But regardless, Dembele remains highly thought of at Lennoxtown. Speaking in the Celtic View this week (Volume 55, Issue 15, Page 6), Kennedy couldn’t help but reveal the club’s excitement over him.
“Everyone’s been aware of him for a long time. Since he was a young player he’s always been the top talent and was spoken about from the age of 12 or 13. He’s at the stage now where he’s full-time, trains with the first-team regularly and has made his first-team debut.
“His talent speaks for itself. He’s a very talented player but, again, with young players you have to manage them properly. He picked up an injury after coming away on pre-season with us but he’s now getting himself back fit.
“He’s a typical Celtic player in terms of his dribbling ability and gets bums off seats. We’re excited about him, he’s very talented. We just have to nurture him properly and hopefully in the future he’ll be a fantastic player for Celtic.”
Celtic determined not to drop the ball on Dembele
The club knows it has something special in their hands here. Dembele isn’t just any other youth player. He’s been consistently playing above his own age group for several years now. He has it all in terms of the talent he’s been gifted.
But the best piece of praise he can receive is regarding his attitude. So far, there haven’t been any reported issues regarding how he’s settling into his full-time deal or his lack of opportunities.
Dembele hopefully knows that there will be plenty of time for him to achieve everything he wants in football. Considering the lack of problems Celtic have had with his mentality, he clearly understands where he’s at.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Celtic fans will want to wait forever to see him again. At the first reasonable opportunity, it would be great to get another view of Dembele’s talents. That way we can see whether his incredible debut performance vs Hearts can be replicated.
The winger’s development is a real priority for the club. But, at the moment, the main priority is of course regaining top spot in the Premiership. Celtic won’t put that at risk just to blend some more youngsters into the first-team.
There’s a time and a place, and Dembele’s time in matchday squads aren’t for the here and now. But as his profile improves, he’s going to become difficult to keep out the longer he performs and keeps turning heads. And with plenty of interest in him (Scottish Sun), those heads are certainly turning.