BRENDAN RODGERS has revealed he wasn’t consulted before 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele made his remarkable debut for the Celtic Under-20s last week.
The mini midfielder played for the last nine minutes of the 3-1 victory over Hearts at Cappielow and sparked an outbreak of viral videos and grabbed the attention of some of the biggest names in the game.
Rodgers said fears over the safety of Dembele had persuaded him to take charge of key decisions on player who has already trained with the first team.
The Hoops boss admitted: “I didn’ t know he was playing. Would I have sanctioned it? That’s not the point. The point is he’s played. You just have to be very careful.

“He is a kid. That’s what he is. He’s not a 13-year-old in the body of a 19-year-old. He doesn’t have those maturation levels. He really looks 13.

“As much as what his ability is and how fast he is, the worry for me when I saw it was if a 25-year-old tackles him.

“I’m a father and, as good as they are, I worry from a parent’s perspective. But he’s a talent and it will be managed going forward. Will I take a more hands-on role? Yes.

“The guys who work here are very good at their job and I’m sure they probably never realised the scope of media attention it would have had. But it’s football – I oversee football.

“I obviously trust the guys here who do great work. Chris McCart, Jim McGuiness and Tommy McIntyre, they are doing a very good job with the young players.

“I spent time this week with the academy, it was a few hours talking to them about things and they are very open to what we are trying to do here.

“So, it’s not an issue, it’s not a problem, but it’s certainly something going forward that we will manage.”

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