Compared to some of the other talented youngsters at Celtic Park, you may not have heard much about Barry Coffey.
The 18-year-old hasn’t quite hit the headlines like some of his other teammates at development level, such as Karamoko Dembele or Lee O’Connor, but that’s no reason to sleep on his potential.
Coffey joined the club back in 2017, reportedly rejecting the chance to sign for Manchester United and Chelsea to make a career for himself at Lennoxtown (The Daily Record).
Since then he’s quietly been making progress through the Hoops ranks and today, the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted him taking part in Celtic first-team training when the club posted photos to Twitter (clue: third photo, far right).
The hard work continues 💪
📸 from Lennoxtown today!
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) December 3, 2019
That’s not notable in the sense to expect his debut against Rangers later this week or to think he’s on the verge of an imminent nod from manager Neil Lennon against Hamilton.
It’s also not a new experience for the player, having made the trip to Austria with Lennon’s men for pre-season and even featuring in a friendly against SC Pinkafeld.
However, it is a reminder he is a capable young midfielder who clearly isn’t so out of step with the senior Celtic stars.
Set to flourish under Lennon?
Coffey was excited about his chance to work with Lennon earlier this year, speaking to reporters after helping the Republic of Ireland make it through to the semi-finals of the U17 European Championship with a goal against Czech Republic.
As quoted by the42.ie, he said: “To be around the first-team players is a dream come true. You’re working with some of the best players in the world and it’s great to work with such professionals and such top, top players. The experience was one I’ll never, ever forget.
“The gaffer [Neil Lennon], he’s unreal. He’s tough, he’s passionate, he’s hard-working. He’s a top-quality manager and that’s a credit to him. He’s been great to work under and hopefully I can keep getting better and keep improving my game.”
Lennon has demonstrated on multiple occasions he’s not a manager that will use age as an excuse not play someone. From James Forrest to Jeremie Frimpong, he’s been instrumental in the development of many players.
If that’s not on the cards then he’s around the age that a loan move might do him the world of good.
For now though, he can remain somewhat under the radar, ready to take opportunities that may come his way during a busy and hectic season, just like he’s done at every other stage of his young career.