CELTIC’S 13-year-old wonderkid Karamoko Dembele had to be content with a place on the subs’ bench during the Scotland Under-16s’ 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in the Victory Shield in Edinburgh yesterday.
The tiny tot midfielder has been fast-tracked by the Scottish FA in a bid to keep him away from a call-up by England, the country of his birth, or the Ivory Coast, his family’s homeland.
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Dembele, who hit the headlines after his seven-minute appearance in the Hoops’ Under-20s development team, is also in the Scots squad for the games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
The teenage sensation garnered most of the attention ahead of game against the Irish, but was not called into action with the team coasting to a two-goal win courtesy of goals from centre-back Taylor Wilson and substitute Zac Butterworth.
London-born Dembele may get his chance tomorrow afternoon to feature against a Wales side that has won the last two Victory Shields.
It remains to be seen if Dembele commits his international future to his adopted country.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has said he will take a hands-on role in the the development of the prospect after the youngster was thrown into the Celtic Under-20s as a late substitute against Hearts at Cappielow without the manager being consulted.
The Irishman admitted fears over the safety of Dembele had persuaded him to take charge of key decisions on player who has already trained with the Hoops first team.