The promotion of youth very much looks as if it will play an extremely important role in Ange Postecoglou’s plans for the transformation of his Celtic side.
Indeed, Opta journalist Sacha Pisani revealed in a post on Twitter back in October that the average age of Celtic’s starting XIs had been the youngest of any side in the Scottish Premiership up to that point, with the Bhoys’ starting lineup coming in at an average of 25 years and 149 days old.
However, a recent article by The Athletic revealed that, despite the youthful nature of 56-year-old’s first-team squad, the majority of the Hoops central midfielders – namely Nir Bitton, James McCarthy, Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor – are beyond what is generally considered to be the peak age (23-27) for a player in their position.
According to the report, this is not the case in any other area of the current Celtic squad, meaning that, should Postecoglou wish to continue the current rate of revolution within his side, an injection of youth must be shot into in the middle of the Parkhead pitch.
And, rather luckily for the Greek-Australian manager, there is one young central midfielder in the club’s ranks that is causing quite the commotion – in the shape of 16-year-old Daniel Kelly.
Kelly can save Celtic millions
Many Celtic fans will no doubt be able to recall that, back June of 2020, Kelly put pen to paper on a four-year pre-professional contract with the Bhoys, keeping him at Parkhead until at least the summer of 2024, after the then-14-year-old had been attracting interest from a number of Europe’s leading clubs.
That summer, it was reported that the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Benfica were amongst the sides hoping to pinch the midfielder from Celtic’s grasp – and it is not difficult to see why.
Indeed, the recently turned 16-year-old Kelly has continually impressed throughout Celtic’s various academy age groups, playing U18 football from the age of 15, as well as recently making his Lowland League debut for the Celtic B side.
In the fixture against Broomhill, the box-to-box midfielder came off the bench with just 14 minutes of normal time to play and ended the match with both a goal and an assist to his name.
This is perhaps the clearest example as to why Kelly is thought to be one of the most promising young players Scotland has produced in recent years, as the teenager has cleared every hurdle placed in front of him thus far with extreme ease – with the natural next step for the youngster being to the first-team.
And, considering Celtic’s need for young blood in the middle of the park, perhaps Postecoglou should indeed consider handing Kelly his first-team debut in the coming weeks, as, if the 16-year-old once again proves that he is capable, he could not only end up saving the club millions of pounds in transfer fees in January but for many years to come.