Celtic are a club with a rich history for promoting young talent, with current boss Ange Postecoglou likely to be keeping a close eye on any potential future stars who could well emerge from the youth ranks in the coming years.
One such prospect is that of versatile gem Josh Dede, with the teenager already a regular fixture of the Parkhead outfit’s B team at the tender age of just 16, having signed his first professional contract with the Old Firm giants back in March.
The Scotland U17 international was the youngest member of Postecoglou’s travelling squad for the trip to Austria back in July, with that inclusion seemingly a sign of just how highly-rated he is in Glasgow.
While the youngster is yet to enjoy a taste of senior action, the suggestion is that he has a “big future” ahead of him – in the words of B team coach Tommy McIntyre – with a chance at first-team level potentially on the horizon.
The hope will be that the promising right-back – who has also featured in a more advanced attacking role – can emulate the success of another Hoops academy graduate in James Forrest, with the 31-year-old having been a consistent presence in the side for over a decade.
The 38-cap gem has racked up 98 goals and 99 assists in 447 games in all competitions since making his debut under Neil Lennon back in May 2010, winning a plethora of major honours in what’s been a glittering spell at Celtic Park to date.
The one-club man – who only recently signed a new three-year deal – has proven himself a real reliable figure on the right flank over the years, offering a potent attacking threat with his relentless speed and hard-working nature.
Lauded as “Celtic and Scotland’s most underrated player” by Stefan Bienkowski, the long-serving gem has often been something of an unsung hero for the Scottish champions, despite regularly delivering the goods.
While recent seasons have been ravaged by injury for the £4.5m-rated ace, at his best he remains a real asset to the club, having notably recorded an outstanding haul of 16 goals and 23 assists in all competitions during the 2019/20 season.
Postecoglou would no doubt be lucky to be able to find another figure like Forrest in the academy set-up, with Dede potentially the next gem on the conveyor belt of young talent.