Celtic talent Michael Sparkes has announced his exit from the club after a six-year spell rising through the youth ranks, posting on Twitter this evening.
After 6 years of playing for my boyhood club it’s now time to move on. For the most part i’ve enjoyed the experience and had some great memories but looking forward to what’s in store next!
— Michael Sparkes (@mikeysparkes14) June 27, 2020
Sparkes is a Welsh youth international, having played at underage levels with Scotland previously.
The 18-year-old forward signed his first professional contract with the club in June 2018 but had not yet made an impact with the senior side.
Rumours of a potential exit surfaced in January when The Scottish Sun reported that English Premier League side Crystal Palace were eager to take him on trial.
Whether his departure has anything to do with that remains to be seen but the teenager is clearly looking forward to the next chapter of his career.
Sparkes isn’t the first young player to leave our academy sides over the last 12 months with Liam Morrison joining up with Bayern Munich last August (BBC) and Manchester City reportedly securing the future of Josh Adam recently (The Telegraph).
Creating a pathway into the first-team for our best young talents should be a priority over the next few years, though it’s understandable why Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon have opted for more accomplished players as we push for historic trophy counts.
Lennon has also shown he is willing to give young players a chance if he thinks they have enough ability, most prominently with the use of Jeremie Frimpong.
Sparkes succeeding elsewhere would only be an advert for the quality of our academy so wherever he ends up, hopefully he does well.
Good luck Michael!