What Ange Postecoglou recently said about the Ben Doak situation at Celtic as Liverpool 'close in'

By John McGinley

March 14, 2022

Today’s news that Liverpool are ‘closing in’ on Celtic teenager Ben Doak wasn’t nice to hear.

He’s a talented teenager and although he had yet to sign professional terms at the club, the winger had already made enough progress to be included in first-team matches from the bench.

Given he is not on full professional terms at the Bhoys, we’ll only receive minimal compensation for the Scotland youth international.

When looking at this situation, it’s important to consider what was on offer to Doak at Celtic if he had stayed.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Postecoglou made it quite clear in a recent press conference when podcast ‘4 Tims and a Pod‘ asked about the progress of both Doak and Karamoko Dembele.

The Bhoys boss said [Celtic TV]: “With Karamoko and Ben – they’re in a similar boat, it’s also about their futures and where they see their futures. I’ve said all along that for me, this football club is everything that a young player should want. Particularly at the moment. I really want to bring young players into our first-team and give them an opportunity as we have already.

“But they’ve got to be invested in our football club. They’ve got to want to be here and they’ve got to want to be here long-term. If they see their futures elsewhere or they’re not certain then I have total respect for that and everyone has the right to make their own decisions, but I’m going to invest time and opportunity into the people who want to stay at our football club.

“Whether they’re young guys or old guys, they’ve got to want to be here and they’ve got to want to see their future here for me to give them the opportunity.”

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So, had Doak decided to commit his future to the Bhoys, there’s every chance he would have got chances to make a name for himself in the Celtic senior side – which is quite the offering from Ange.

There’ll definitely be some bitterness from a section of the Celtic support regarding Doak’s exit. But I don’t subscribe to that notion.

Doak and his family are only making the best decision for them and, taking my green-tinted specs off, I can see why a move to Liverpool would be of interest.

It goes beyond cash. That’ll be the accusation from many. But I think we are too quick to judge youngsters for that. Liverpool have a world-class training facility, Doak will be working with elite peers and he’ll get time with the likes of Jurgen Klopp too.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Ultimately it feels like neither Celtic nor Doak has done anything wrong here. The club tried to persuade him to stay and offered what they could. Doak is following his dream of becoming a professional at the highest level. This is how football works now.

It’s true that this has happened too many times at the Bhoys over the last few years. But we also know Celtic are actively trying to create better pathways for youth players at the club. That will take time.

Changes didn’t come soon enough to truly influence the Ben Doak situation but hopefully what we learn from this can be applied in the future.

I also hope Doak does well wherever he goes. It’s okay to be disappointed with how this has played out, without being angry.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou’s class comments on what he absolutely doesn’t tolerate at Celtic training.