As Celtic continue to thrive at first-team level, the next priority for manager Ange Postecoglou should well be to start integrating the club’s promising academy talents into the senior set-up, with there no doubt a handful of youngsters chomping at the bit for a chance to impress.
One such talent is that of left-back Matthew Anderson, with the 18-year-old – who signed his first professional contract with the Parkhead outfit back in June 2020 – having caught the eye in the youth ranks of late.
While yet to make an appearance in the first team, the teenager has impressed for the Old Firm outfit’s ‘B’ team to date, registering three goals and laying on four assists in just ten outings from his full-back berth.
Clearly an attacking asset, the promising defender has also chipped in with one assist in just two UEFA Youth League games so far this term, having previously been included in Postecoglou’s travelling squad for the trip to Austria during pre-season.
Such talent has seen the Scottish starlet linked with a move to Premier League side Leeds United in the past, with Blantyre Soccer Academy chief, Jimmy Whelan having tipped the emerging prospect for a bright future, stating: “He really is one to watch, he is the real deal.”
Whelan also went on to compare the youngster to compatriot and fellow left-back Kieran Tierney, with that an intriguing claim considering the impact that the latter man made for the Glasgow side in the past after rising through the youth ranks.
The Isle of Man-born machine was an instant hit at Celtic Park after bursting onto the scene back in 2015 during Ronny Deila’s stint in charge, going on to rack up 37 assists and eight goals in 170 games for the Scottish Premiership side.
A key figure in the club’s remarkable unbeaten campaign under Brendan Rodgers during the 2016/17 season, the tireless asset was notably lauded by the current Leicester City boss for his remarkable “intensity” and “unique” quality, having emerged as a leading figure in the side despite his youth.
Such form unsurprisingly caught the attention of a host of suitors, with the Scotland international ultimately moving to Arsenal on a £25m deal in 2019, with that proving a club-record sale for the Hoops.
Postecoglou and co will likely be hoping to develop Anderson in a similar manner in the years to come, with Tierney having proven there is a pathway to success from the academy to the senior set-up.