Forget Ferhat: Ange could unearth the next Sterling with Celtic's "star in the making" – opinion
While Ange Postecoglou has transformed the Celtic side with a number of foreign imports this season, the Bhoys still boast a healthy core of homegrown talents within their first-team squad.
Indeed, all of Callum McGregor, Stephen Welsh, Greg Taylor, Anthony Ralston, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele are first-team products of an extremely efficient production line at Lennoxtown, while the likes of Ben Doak, Dane Murray and Rocco Vata look as if they are not far off making a splash within the senior squad.
However, while the first two of this teenage trio have already made an appearance under the management of Postecoglou this season, the 16-year-old Vata remains a player the Parkhead crowd are yet to see in the flesh – although there is already a considerable level of excitement surrounding the attacking midfielder’s potential amongst the Celtic support.
It is not difficult to see why Celtic fans are so eager to witness what Vata can do at senior level, as, despite his tender age, the Republic of Ireland U17 international has been lighting it up in the Scottish Lowland League with the Bhoys B team side.
Indeed, so far this season, the midfielder has already bagged six goals for the Celtic Colts team, the vast majority of which have been spectacular finishes.
One such goal came during December’s 1-0 victory over East Stirlingshire, when Vata latched onto a defence-splitting through ball before crashing the ball off the crossbar and past the opposition goalkeeper from an extremely tight angle, sealing all three points for his side in the process.
Rocco Vata’s goal last night pic.twitter.com/9cG2LloyCB
— AnnFrances Murray (@AnnFrancesMurr3) December 11, 2021
The teenage sensation has also been in expectational form for the Republic of Ireland U17s, scoring a quite breathtaking long-range drive in a 2-0 win over North Macedonia back in October.
Fantastic goal by Rocco Vata
Cheeky finish by Mark O’Mahony
— FAIreland ⚽️ (@FAIreland) October 10, 2021
As such, it is perhaps no surprise that Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig has dubbed the Celtic starlet one of the top 50 teenagers in world football, nor why the 16-year-old has been likened to Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, as it is clear for all to see that the youngster is a player who has an extremely bright future ahead of him in the professional game.
And, with Celtic being linked with a move for Nimes forward Zinedine Ferhat this summer, perhaps it would advisable for Postecoglou to take a closer look at Vata before offering the 28-year-old a big-money contract, as unleashing the 16-year-old prodigy who The Celtic Bhoys dubbed a “star in the making” could end up being a move that saves the 56-year-old and his club millions.
Source: Football – Football Fan Cast