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Celtic may have their next Ben Doak in Rocco Vata

Celtic have no doubt enjoyed notable success during Ange Postecoglou’s tenure thus far, although one worrying trend that has emerged in recent times has been seeing a handful of the club’s young talents poached by Premier League sides.

The Parkhead giants have seen both Leo Hjelde and Rory Mahady join Leeds United in the space of the last 18 months, while arguably the greatest loss has been that of Scotland U21 international, Ben Doak.

The highly-rated 17-year-old was snapped up by Liverpool earlier this year having risen up through the Hoops’ youth ranks, with the winger quickly making his mark at Anfield with eight goals and six assists at academy level this season, including four goals and four assists in just six UEFA Youth League games.

The Dalry-born sensation has even made his debut at senior level for the Merseysiders after featuring off the bench in the Carabao Cup triumph over Derby County last month, having been lauded as an ‘exciting prospect‘ by former Bhoys hero, Kenny Dalglish.

The “fearless” youngster – as described by journalist Barry Anderson – has already left those back at Celtic Park ruing their inability to keep him in Glasgow, with it looking as if the Reds’ starlet will go on to enjoy a bright future in English football.

For Postecoglou and co, the hope will be to avoid seeing another promising talent follow Doak out the door, with the Scottish champions likely already sweating regarding the long-term future of teenage ace, Rocco Vata.

Recent reports have claimed that the 17-year-old has caught the attention of both Arsenal and Manchester City, as well as the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Roma, as a result of his sparkling form of late.

The Ireland youth international – who is the son of former Celtic and Albania defender Rudi Vata – has arguably been the star attraction for the club’s ‘B’ team this season, with the versatile forward having scored eight goals and recorded one assist in just 14 Lowland League outings.

That impact has come after the playmaker was included as part of the first-team squad for the trip to Austria in pre-season, while he was more recently part of the travelling party for the Sydney Super Cup voyage.

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The Hamilton-born menace will again have a chance to impress Postecoglou after earning his place in the squad for the warm-weather training camp in Portugal alongside fellow youngster Bosun Lawal, with the title-winning coach hoping to increase the duo’s “exposure” to life at first-team level.

A player with a “killer attitude” who could go right “to the top”, in the words of ‘B’ team coach Darren O’Dea, Vata will certainly be one who could well make the step up from the youth set-up sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, it would also be no surprise if that interest from the Premier League’s big boys ultimately leads to an exit from Paradise for the player, with Postecoglou and co likely dreading a repeat of the Doak scenario.