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DE VRIES HAILS HOOPS KIDS

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DORUS DE VRIES is backing Norwegian teenager Kristoffer Ajer to make a massive impact with Celtic.

And the veteran Dutch goalkeeper reckons Brendan Rodgers has some of the game’s most thrilling young players in the champions’ squad.

De Vries, at 37 almost DOUBLE the age of Ajer, believes he has all the hallmarks of an influential central defender.

The shotstopper insisted: “Kristoffer is a really great player. He can go on and have a big future in the game.

“He is strong in the tackle, he throws himself at everything, but he is also very assured with the ball at his feet.

“Obviously, he still has a lot to learn at this level, but he is one of a few very exciting players at the club.”

Ajer, 19, was almost knocked cold after a collision of heads with team-mate Jozo Simunovic in the Hoops’ 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie at the weekend.

It took fully three minutes before he got back to his feet and De Vries said: “I think he was a little bit afraid that his good looks would be ruined!

“He has a big bruise and a black eye, but, hopefully, he will be okay.

“You get those knocks when you are going in to battle.”

De Vries, who has played the last seven games during the enforced absence of the injured Craig Gordon, is also a fan of 20-year-old Kieran Tierney who netted the killer second goal against the Dons.

He added: “I laughed when people spoke of Kieran still having the energy to run back to celebrate his goal.

“If you know KT, then you would know that he could keep going like that for another three hours!

“He is fit, he is fast and he is strong and there is such a good nucleus of young players at the club. I think it is exciting to have that because you are building a team for a long time then.

“Moussa Dembele also did so well for his part in the build-up to the goal. It is great for us that we have those big players in the squad.

“They relish the big games and there will be a few of them on the horizon now.

“Lots of people forget Moussa is still very young, too, at 21. There is so much more to come not only from him, but from us as a team.”

 
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