Celtic have had an excellent record when it comes to producing young talent through their Academy system, however keeping hold of them when cash rich clubs come calling has been another matter entirely.
In recent years Celtic have lost some of their most talented players to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich with perhaps Barry Hepburn and Liam Morrison the most notable, who jumped ship for the Bundesliga giants.
Now it appears Liverpool, who picked up young ‘keeper Liam Hughes from Celtic are also looking to steal in and whip away 16-year-old Ben Doak, and the player who has yet to be convinced to sign professional terms could leave with only training compensation costs being paid. The Celtic Star had a short interview with Ben Doak just last weekend (see below) and he gave no indication at all at being unhappy at Celtic.
According to the Daily Record’s Scott Burns, Doak is attracting interest from the Anfield club, meanwhile highly rated young left back Mitchell Frame is also attracting Premier League interest from Newcastle, Brighton and Crystal Palace.
‘Liverpool want Celtic youngster Ben Doak. The teenager has been a prominent player for the Hoops under-18s. That has brought the talented 16-year-old on to the radar of the Merseyside giants. Doak has yet to sign pro-forms with Celtic and Liverpool are keen to see if they can get him out on training compensation. Celtic are still trying to convince Doak to commit his long-term future to the club.
Newcastle, Brighton and Crystal Palace are also keen on fellow teenage defender Mitchell Frame. The left-back is another who is catching the eye in the Celtic youth squads.’
A recent announcement from FIFA has tried to address the issue of well-funded English and European clubs stockpiling players. However, those changes will not impact on the clubs unless the players are over the age of 21, as such it is likely the bigger clubs will set their sights on young Academy talent and stockpile at that age group instead.
From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, a club may have a maximum of eight professionals loaned out and eight loaned in at any given time during a season.
From 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024, the same configuration applies but with a maximum of seven professionals.
Finally, from 1 July 2024, the same configuration will apply but limited to a maximum of six professionals.
Players aged 21 and younger and club-trained players will be exempt from these limitations.
When it comes to clubs like Liverpool and Bayern Munich you can see why young players will have their heads turned by impressive pathway plans and well-funded coaching, which Celtic can perhaps not match.
Yet players and their representatives do need to consider how the likes of Stephen Welsh, Anthony Ralston, James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Mikey Johnston have all made it through the system and into the first team.
As such whilst the lure of Liverpool and Bayern Munich may prove hard to resist, surely Newcastle, Brighton and Crystal Palace are clubs Celtic could give a run for their money when it comes to player retention and could encourage the likes of Mitchell Frame to consider their own career advancement could occur adequately in Glasgow.
With FIFA rules coming in over the next three seasons limiting those players over 21 years of age, you can certainly see the big European and English sides turning their attentions to the younger age groups, it may be Celtic need to brace themselves to the possibility Ben Doak and Mitchell Frame may simply be the first in an emerging pattern.
Academy Players under The Celtic Star Spotlight – Ben Doak, Celtic Under 18 Squad
The Celtic Star is proud to support The Celtic Academy and one of the features we’ve had planned for a while is to provide our readers with a series of profiles on the current Under 18s side to introduce the players hoping to be the Celtic stars of the not too distant future. With many restrictions still in place this turned into a saga and took so long to get anywhere but we’re now underway and we’ll have plenty more of these ‘spotlight’ features on the young Hoops over the rest of this season.
Today we start with Ben Doak, who is a stand-out right-back who can also play as a winger in The Celtic Under 18s Squad this season. Here’s some background on Ben as he makes a name for himself in the Scotland Under 17s set-up.
Here’s Ben scoring for Scotland U17s against Wales earlier in the season.
Ben Doak goal for Scotland u17s vs Wales u17s – 02/09/21 ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/KtPmCtb7JC
— Celtic Youth and Loan Highlights (@celtic_ylvids) September 3, 2021
And some feedback on his performance in the SFA’s match report and also from the Scotland Under 17s manager Brian McLaughlin.
“Ben Doak looked a constant threat for Scotland with his pace proving a constant menace for the defence. One particular sprint enabled him to outpace the defenders to put him one on one with the goalkeeper but he was unable to prod the ball beyond the Wales stopper.
“The winger remained a prominent figure in the second half and was unfortunate not to score a second when he darted down the right hand side into the box but was unable to guide his shot into the box.”
Scotland U17s head coach McLaughlin added:
“Ben Doak did well tonight and he’s a great player. He’s a good threat and great character around training as well. His attitude towards training is infectious and there’s no doubt that he loved his debut for the 17s tonight. It felt like every time he had the ball he could create us a chance.”
BEN DOAK UNDER THE CELTIC STAR SPOTLIGHT…
How long have you been part of the Academy? Six Years..
What is your preferred position? Right Wing
All-time favourite Celtic player and why? Moussa Dembele, a very talented individual who scored so many goals for the club.
All-time favourite non-Celtic player and why? Lionel Messi, the best ever!
Three things you are good at other than football? Running, table tennis and good patter!
How would you celebrate your first goal for the first team? Knee slide!
The most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done or worn is? Wearing trousers that are too baggy to school!
Describe your favourite kind of music and recommend a song for us to enjoy? Rap, Forest Hills Drive, J Cole
Who has been the biggest influence on your playing career? My dad, he has always been there to offer advice, guidance and keep me in line!
Describe playing for Celtic in three words? It’s really good!