Curse of the prodigy: Dembele, Feruz, Doak, Morrison, Hepburn


After ten substitute appearances, Karamoko Dembele joins a long list of other prodigies, released by Celtic (or a later club) without achieving their hoped-for level.  Unlike many of the others, Karamoko stayed, hoping to make the breakthrough here, but despite attracting global attention as a 15-year-old and making his debut soon after turning 16, it looks likely the London-born player is set for a career as a jobbing player.

Islam Feruz is just seven years older than Dembele.  Chelsea beat off a host of competitors to sign him when he left the Celtic structure at 16.  A career totalling 20 appearances ended five years ago with a loan spell at Swindon, remembered mostly for his conviction for driving his Porsche while disqualified.

The body of evidence grows that a player’s potential cannot be reliably assured I his mid-teens.  Ben Doak (16), who made his Celtic debut, played in that memorable 3-0 win over Newco, then signed for Liverpool, has it all to prove.

Barry Hepburn, now 18, who left Celtic for Bayern Munich two years ago, or Liam Morrison, who we lost to the same club a year earlier, have it all to prove in Germany.  Morrison has made just four appearances for the Reserves in three years since joining Bayern, two from the bench.  Hepburn has made the Reserves’ bench only once in two years, but was unused.

Football is absolutely brutal when it comes to inflating and ending the hopes of young talent.  A tiny percentage of those considered near certain to make it, actually do.  No judgement on Doak, Morrison or Hepburn.  They would have gone with dreams of Champions League glory and no doubt an unbelievable wage.  Their next contract offer may be less attractive.

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  1. but, but, but,



    everybody knows our acdemy is rubbish, lennoxtown is a glee club, and these guys all leave because we dont have an indoor pitch.

  2. prestonpans bhoys on

    I think Man City are one of the worse for hovering up young talent and merely loaning them out, never to be seen again.

  3. Paul



    There is nothing doomed about the future careers of these players. There is nothing lesser about their prospects by going elsewhere.



    If the hint is that they would be better off staying at Celtic, there is little evidence to support that. We may as well hint that they would be better signing for United or Motherwell or the Dons since they will get more Senior experience at an earlier age.



    Ange obviously wanted Doak and Dembele to stay, as he tried to encourage them with game time. It does not serve us well to adopt a Fox & Grapes attitude towards the fact that they left.



    The truth is that it is hard to make it all over. There are no guarantees that starting at a lesser team increases your chances significantly of making it to a top team.

  4. Tom McLaughlin on

    England win by 7 wickets.



    Root 142 not out


    Bairstow 114 not out



    Set a target of 378 yesterday afternoon, they achieved it before lunch today. It was a record chasing target for England in test history.



    Amazing performance from England and fantastic entertainment from the 2 batsmen.

  5. P67 — really snarkey — you should be better than that.


    The base point is that our Youth system is not delivering first team players.


    Could this be linked to the recent phenomenon where they cannot wait to leave at 16/17?


    Bubbled up over the past 3/4 years but hurting us badly.


    New dimension when we lost LH to LU.


    Something badly wrong in the youths.



    We can spot players but we don’t / can’t develop them.


    Hopefully AP will get involved now that he has re-focused the B Team.



    KD — he was treated like a circus act by the club for too long.



    Me — our youth set up is poor / Glee club vibe @ St N’s.


    Happy Clappers — no its not / it can’t be we have a 13yr old playing in the U18’s.


    And so it continued for 4 or 5 years until he got clogged in the pre-season game.



    Then we had the emergence of BD to complicate matters.


    Totally below the radar until L/pool came calling.


    And he was off like a shot — not good.

  6. Pingback: Curse of the prodigy: Dembele, Feruz, Doak, Morrison, Hepburn | Celtic FC News Now

  7. Would appear our youth development process is more of a leaky pipe than a conveyor belt.


    Unsure if I would name, blame or shame those who don’t complete the journey.


    A reflective look at our entire youth operation may be in order.

  8. England cricket team had won once in 17 before the change in coach, they’ve since beaten the two best test teams four times in a row, from positions where they could/should have lost. The latest win today was historic and yet looked inevitable and easy.



    A lot comes down to the form of the best English batsman, probably, ever but there have been very few changes in the team.



    The new coach keeps it simple, talks about keeping the pressure on the opposition , playing aggressively, constantly attacking and not being afraid to fail.



    Definitely parallels there

  9. Stx2 @ 12.05



    Cheap jibes are easy.


    Solutions are a bit harder.



    Any constructive thoughts on where we are?



    Without knowing it I fear that you have stumbled across part of the issue.



    BD leaving would appear to have a Glee Club dimension.


    Footballer’s at that age are very much a couple when it comes to St N’s house rules.


    They both have to fit in to be part of the gang.


    Football ability is secondary.



    In the recent past St N’s social structures have been female led.


    It would appear that it all gets sorted out by S2 / S3 and then football ability is secondary.


    I have been an interested observer through extended family connections.


    Surprised at the stories and the structures.


    But they played out as expected.



    Needs a huge shake up.

  10. Probably no coincidence that both coaches were working thousands of miles away with no previous connection before they started their new jobs, and are antipodean



    Not quite Ange who, but there was a fair amount of scepticism about the New England cricket coach when he took over

  11. Son of Gabriel on

    Doak is the most assured looking of the players I have seen come through in a while.


    He has also entered a structure where young players are regularly getting a chance in an environment built to have the full club aiming in the same direciton. Methinks he’ll have some sort of decent career (injury & temperament permitting)



    Morrison is supposedly training with the first team squad at Bayern right now. Hope he does well.



    Just shows there is no magic formula for anyone.

  12. SFTB



    Yep hopefully a few younger players get a run out today , a nice mix of old and young keep the ball moving .


    Remember bhoys and ghirls today is only the opener of a long old season …



    What ? We don’t stop 😜

  13. Safe to say that the journey from incredible young talent to first team player is always a leaky bucket.



    We can define, if we want, a level of high quality in preparing those with a chance of making it at Celtic and elsewhere. The kids that opt for Liverpool and Bayern do so because they believe it will make them a better player not because of guarantees.



    Is the Celtic pathway capable of building on early god-given talent with experiences (i.e. competition), facilities and professional coaching that will take folk up a level, regardless of where they land ? Maybe not.



    Everything at the moment suggests we serve the Frimpongs better (Part of enormous Man City stable) to join us as a late-teen, with a first team pathway, sell-on and now resale to Madrid, better than a Dembele (Youth player with a ceiling for competition outside the first team?).



    Time to do what Brentford do and scrap the academy as an ego trip for a stable of late teens, capable of playing decent opposition and perhaps being the next Frimpong?




  14. Stx2 @ 12.34



    You have a habit of dismissing out of hand any views or experience that you can’t engage with / don’t have any knowledge off — closed mind in all its glory.



    Which is a shame as you might learn something.



    So I will ask again:



    Are you happy with the performance of our youth system?


    Does it deliver enough first team talent to meet our needs / justify its existence?



    If not — do you have any thoughts on why and how to improve it?


    If yes — what are we doing right / can it be improved and how?

  15. Some young lads are stars at underage level but they can’t hack the physicality of the Senior game,


    I think having the B Team playing in the Lowland League is an excellent move, It should toughen them up, that and loaning out players to Senior Clubs will give Ange and his team all the evidence they need to map out the career paths of our young Turks.

  16. BW @ 12.42



    B/ford don’t have to worry about the CL squad rules — not now anyway.



    We need to find 4 players who we have trained by us between 15 to 18.


    If we don’t have them then our CL squad will have empty places.



    Worth the gamble?



    CL squad —



    4 trained in house as youths.


    4 trained in the SPL as youths.


    17 from wherever.



    6 games — 17 players will never be enough.


    21 players will be a gamble.



    Plus a second list from the current U20’s.



    From memory so some of the detail might be shonky.

  17. Thank you to all who wished me well etc on the previous Thread.


    Are Celtic playing TODAY or Wednesday…and what time is the Kick Aff ?


    HH to all NON Chumps on here.

  18. SFTB from previous article,



    I think a better example is Cleator Moor Celtic fc founded in 1908. The Cumberland FA was formed in 1884 and Cleator Moor United ( Forerunner to CM Celtic )won the County Cup. The date is significant.



    I stayed in Cleator Moor when I was working at Sellafield and was fascinated with the place.


    It replicates the sectarian struggles that Glasgow and the West had and it fully deserves its title of ” Little Ireland” to this day.




  19. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Agree with the central tenet.



    It IS brutal !



    Mixed bag of names in your case study Pablo?



    IMHO – these players (who are young, very inexperienced adults) chase



    – Money OR


    – Glory OR


    – a career pathway



    Or maybe a mix sometimes.



    The lads who went to Bayern? Probably the career pathway?



    Islam – dearie me. Heid full of broken bottles as they used to say.



    Bottom line – if you have talent, dedication and a little luck plus are well guided?



    You’ve got a chance.



    PS – I think Ben will make it.

  20. BB @ 12.49



    That is not a cabinet — it is a zoo.



    I have always blamed BoJo for the Grass Cutting party.


    Seemed to be his sort of gig — pi*s take for laughs when you had lost all the arguments.



    I think that the link was Old Leatherface at the ST aka AN / Paisley’s finest …


    Or so he kept telling everyone.

  21. B2B @ 12.54



    BD to make it big — I agree.


    That is why his leaving hurts so much.


    He needed more work / support at 15 to keep him with us.


    The support just isn’t there.

  22. It’s a two way street and we take loads of players from other clubs. Of the ones mentioned, I actually think Dembele would have stayed had he been offered a contract. I’d like to wish them all well, but being I childish prick, I won’t. If I was a talented young player from a Celtic background, I’d stay.

  23. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Seems Madhun taking a new job down south, is double speak for having a wean out of wedlock, and getting papped oot……allegedly….

  24. quadrophenian on

    UNCLE JIMMY on 5TH JULY 2022 12:26 PM


    Would appear our youth development process is more of a leaky pipe than a conveyor belt.


    Unsure if I would name, blame or shame those who don’t complete the journey.


    A reflective look at our entire youth operation may be in order.






    Agree UJ – but it seems the pipe might now akshully be ruptured, not just leaky.



    Once upon a time oor academy had Shay Given, James McCarthy, Chaz Mulgrew, McGeady, and Maloney.


    Then we had a wave with Jamesy Forrest, Andy Robertson, Cal McGregor, Tierney and Ralston if I’m right?


    Whose next for a jersey, that we haven’t brought in on a freebie…Moffat, Otoo or Vata ?


    Have we anyone on the books – Toby and Bosun aside – who may genuinely become a contender ?



    It’s not that we don’t spot the talent, they don’t seem to be flourishing as readily under our guidance as we might expect they could given all our analytical (ahem) and coaching capabilities.



    I guess that’s what Ange has spotted and why so many have just been cut loose.

  25. Quad @ 1.09



    Stretching it a bit with the AR chat.


    He had his going away party with Brewster Bear.

  26. “MADMITCH on 5TH JULY 2022 12:42 PM


    Stx2 @ 12.34



    You have a habit of dismissing out of hand any views or experience that you can’t engage with / don’t have any knowledge off — closed mind in all its glory.



    Which is a shame as you might learn something.”




    Oh the irony – an actual LOL moment..!

  27. bournesouprecipe on

    A tale of Doak and Dembele



    One left one stayed only to be released, Celtic get it in the neck, only from the usual suspects.



    Bhoy wonders! – released whilst a youth happens at every club, even City Group.



    I hope Karamoko and others find a decent level to play at.

  28. quadrophenian on

    MM – okay, okay – my creative licence is suspended.


    Point is, quality comes in – sometimes goes out too quick, or stagnates for staying too long.



    Mibby a feeder club arrangement – in Oz for eg – would give the players real competition and add a bit of mini-star value to the ALeague comp.

  29. Not sure James Mccarthy was on our books. He was certainly linked, but was with Hamilton Accies I think.

  30. Ive watched a lot of Tennis on TV in recent weeks, but at the Eastbourne Tourney 2 weeks ago, I saw the MOST Beautiful Tennis player EVER…She is a gorgeous Italian Girl called CAMILA GIORGI…


    She is an absolute STUNNER !



    She is even prettier than ” Roger”..




    HH to the NON Trolls on here.

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