When Ange Postecoglou signed on the dotted line as Celtic manager, there was a sentence the Australian muttered that will have had the Parkhead faithful dancing for joy.
He revealed pride in using academy players, suggesting they brought an extra sense of purpose to the football club.
That has been an area neglected by Neil Lennon and co in recent years but with players like Karamoko Dembele and Luca Connell coming through the ranks, it’s hard to ignore the young stars of tomorrow.
Celtic may need to move towards transitioning younger players into the first team, but they can’t ignore experience.
After all, following Scott Brown’s departure this summer, there is a void of experience, leadership and composure that’s been left behind.
Ismaila Soro looks like the Scot’s heir in waiting. The Ivorian has already proven to be a combative force in the middle of the park and if he can discover more consistency under the new boss, Premiership attackers will be fearing the worst.
He won more tackles (1.9 per game) than any other Hoops player to start more than one match last term, while his dominant European displays provided hope for the future.
As the Bhoys impressively beat Lille in the Europa League, the midfield general won a mind-boggling ten tackles.
If Soro gets more opportunities to start next season it will be interesting to see who plays in a pivot next to him. Liam Shaw has signed from Sheffield Wednesday but Callum McGregor had an impressive European Championships, scoring against Croatia.
However, with Celtic requiring another experienced head in that area of the pitch, Postecoglou should turn to Aaron Mooy.
During Postecoglou’s reign as Australia manager, the pair worked alongside each other, a period of time where Mooy won 28 of his 42 caps for his country.
Coincidentally, the former Huddersfield and Brighton stalwart speaks highly of the coach. Speaking in an interview back in 2016, the midfielder said: “He’s a very good coach.
“The style that he wants to play is the way I like playing as well. I’m happy to be playing under him. He’s intimidating. But the way he wants to play football, I want to play like that as well.”
At the age of 30, Mooy is at an age where he still has plenty left in the tank, unlike Brown. The fact he’s playing in China may well suggest otherwise but it wasn’t long ago that he contributed 13 goals and 13 assists over four Premier League seasons.
As well as having the ability to dictate the tempo of a game, he is a ruthless tackler similarly to Soro. In his first top-flight campaign with Huddersfield, he won 2.8 tackles per game – more than the Ivorian last term.
Brown has always been a player who doesn’t shy away from the challenge but his form deteriorated in 2020/21. Replacing him with Mooy and lining the Aussie up alongside Soro could be a devastating combination for the new head coach.