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Celtic: Is this Ange Postecoglou’s new James Forrest?

Once James Forrest decides to part company with Celtic and leave the luscious green grass of Parkhead behind, it will be a sad day for everyone associated with the Hoops.

The flying winger has been a fabulous signing for the Bhoys since arriving as a boy all the way back in 2002.

There have been a number of success stories emerging out of Lennoxtown over the last few decades with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor and Aiden McGeady all climbing through the ranks.

However, only club captain, McGregor, can boast the same loyalty as Forrest.

Since breaking into the first team in Glasgow, the 30-year-old has pulled on the famous green and white on 422 occasions. Over those matches, he has beaten the goalkeeper 95 times and supplied 96 assists.

Sadly, despite the flanker now in what should be his peak years, his career is dwindling and petering out as fresher blood comes through.

Will we see the best of Forrest at Celtic again?

No way!

No way!

Of course!

Of course!

Livewire Kyogo Furuhashi, the rampant Liel Abada and the dazzling Jota have all surpassed him this term as the Scot struggles with injury again.

Forrest has gone from being the club’s go-to player on the biggest of occasions to a position of relegation on the treatment table or substitutes bench.

He has played just 17 times in the Premiership over the last 18 months but he now needs to be wary of those lower than him in the pecking order, not just those in and around him.

It is only a matter of time before Karamoko Dembele makes his true breakthrough at senior level but another youngster is now pushing him close.

That happens to be Rocco Vata, a tricky and frantic 16-year-old who is capable of dominating defences.

The teenager has benefited from Celtic Bs inclusion in the Lowland League this term, as he’s put in some truly eye-catching performances. The type of displays we’re seeing on a regular basis are enough to remind you of Forrest.

Famed for his ability to beat players and fashion chances for teammates, those are two traits the Vata has in his own armoury.

Speaking about the attacker’s talents recently, coach Darren O’Dea could only praise him.

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“The most impressive thing about him is his mentality and attitude to the game. There was a pre-season friendly this year and it didn’t go particularly well. But he’s someone who has a killer attitude. He never stops,” O’Dea began.

“He’s got a fantastic ability to beat people and to create chances. But on top of that, he’s got a really strong, strong mind. He’s very, very young and needs to be managed well but he’s going in the right direction.”

Those traits that the Celtic guru describes are very much in tune with Forrest, somebody who has honed his skills over multiple years at a top level, scoring and assisting with great regularity.

“I’m confident to say if he reaches his full potential, which is our goal as a staff to help him do that, that potential could take him to the top,” O’Dea concluded.

With that in mind, it must be hugely exciting for Celtic supporters to see him making such impressive strides. It is timely too, with injury struggles for Mikey Johnston, Forrest and Dembele this season.

It must only be a matter of time before Ange Postecoglou decides to take a closer look and hand Vata his initial taste of first-team life. Should he give him a chance to thrive, then the Australian tactician may well unlock the club’s next Forrest.

AND in other news, Ange must ruthlessly axe “selfish” £16k-p/w Celtic flop in Jan, he’s stealing a living…

Article title: Celtic: Is this Ange Postecoglou’s new James Forrest?

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