Rocco Vata – “He’s done great,” Callum McGregor’s praises emerging Celtic star

Celtic B team coach Darren O’Dea recently proclaimed young Celtic prospect Rocco Vata’s ability “could take him to the top”, as he praised the 17-year old’s mentality and attitude alongside his undoubted potential.

28th December 2022 Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, Hibernian versus Celtic Rocco Vata on the ball Photo Vagelis Georgariou

Now Vata – who is currently side-lined by injury – has also received an endorsement from club captain Callum McGregor – as reported in Daily Record – a man who knows just what it takes to rise from Celtic Academy graduate to Celtic’s most important player.

“He’s hurt his ankle at the minute but he’s showing really good promise in the academy. He’s scored a few goals for the B team, which is great. That’s what we want, to be pushing as many academy products on as we can, trying to expose them to the first team as much as we can as well and getting them to that level where they can step into the team.

“Rocco has been around the first team since pre-season and he’s done great so hopefully he can recover from his injury. It’s great to see the guys coming, pushing and training with the first team. If we can try and get as many academy products through into the first team, I believe it gives the club a great base moving forward.”

Rocco Vata of Celtic FC competes for the ball with Isaac Price of Everton FC during the Sydney Super Cup match between Celtic and Everton at Accor Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Celtic have come a long way in a short-time under Ange Postecoglou. The footballing rebuild, from a near ground-zero landscape, has been impressive. Meanwhile off the park appointments to key appointments in recruitment, sports science and analysis have helped drag Celtic, somewhat belatedly, into this century.

And at B Team level Celtic’s youngsters are mirroring their first team counterparts in the style of play Postecoglou demands, whilst some even get to train with the Celtic first team on a regular basis, as the youngsters are prepared in advance for what will be demanded of them when they make the jump to first team football.

 Rocco Vata of Celtic B beats Rangers B goalkeeper. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

The next step of course is for some of those young talents to make the step up a permanent arrangement. And with Rocco Vata and Bosun Lawal following the likes of Ben Doak (prior to his move to Liverpool) into a taste of first team football, it is clear the manager sees something he likes in these players. It will now be up to Vata and Lawal to prove his judgement correct.

In the case of Vata he’ll certainly have an understanding of what is needed to cut it at Celtic, after all his dad Rudi has already tread this path. And having made his debut against Hibs in December, and having recently shone and scored as Celtic B defeated theRangers B 5-2 in a Glasgow Derby at Celtic Park, the talent is clearly there – and an argument could be made he has already outgrown the need for B-Team stabilisers to remain fitted.

Hibernian v Celtic – Rocco Vata and Elie Youan battle for the ball during the cinch Premiership match at Easter Road,  Wednesday December 28, 2022. Photo Malcolm Mackenzie

As such, a ringing endorsement from Celtic’s club captain – and someone who knows what it takes to make the grade and more at Celtic – should be further inspiration for Vata that his footballing future can be bright at Celtic and his career aspirations can be met at the club he supports.

It appears Rocco Vata will get further opportunities at first team level, once he recovers from his ankle injury. It will then be down to the player himself to ensure he can remain there.

Much of that will come down to attitude and mental strength as much as any footballing ability, but it appears Rocco Vata has all three of those qualities in abundance – and he has references from his Head Coach and club captain to prove it.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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