LIAM HENDERSON could walk into ANY of the other first teams in the Premiership, according to Ronny Deila.
“He would play in 70-80 per cent, maybe even 90 per cent of the other teams. But, again, it’s important to tell a young player you are the best player at Under-17 in Scotland, but you are a Second Division player for me.
“You have the best chance to get up there, though. You have ability and opportunities to reach that level and when you come up to the first team that’s because you are talented – not because you are good enough yet.
“But then you have to work really hard just to get up to the first team. Liam is that – he’s been the closest of the youngsters. He was born in 1996 and he has played 15 games for us, that’s good at Celtic.”
Deila insisted the chances of 16 and 17-year-olds having the ability to cope in the confines of big club top teams are virtually nil. He asked: “How many could? Very few. How many do you see in the Champions League or in the English Premier League?
“If you take the whole Premier League, it’s one teenager on average in every round of fixtures.
“When Arsenal say they have a young team there are no teenagers, everyone is 22, 23 or 24. We’re actually a younger team than them.
“There are very few Wayne Rooneys who possessed the physical ability to go with his talent, even at a young age – his neck was that thick when he was 16!”
Deila’s former Stromsgodset prodigy Odegaard moved to Real Madrid last month, but, despite his former boss hailing him as one of the world’s top talents for his age, he wouldn’t play him.
Delia said: “He would struggle. In my opinion, Martin is one of the most most talented 16-year-olds in the world, maybe even the No.1 – but he’s not better than a top Tippeligaen player.
“He’s not better than Kris Commons – he’s not even close.
“But he’s different, he CAN be world class. What’s good about Martin is I know he works the right way.
“He doesn’t think he’s a world-class player. But he thinks he can be and he loves training and playing.
“That’s what’s good about Liam as well. When I asked about Rosenborg, he said: ‘Yes’. It’s positive for him. He wasn’t thinking: ‘I should play at Celtic’.
“He just wants to play. He’s ambitious and he’s not finished, he’s just going for the next thing all the time.
“It’s easier to play at Hamilton than Celtic. They can lose three or four games without things happening.
“When you put your shoes into Celtic Park, they don’t think about you as a 16 or 17-year-old.
“People assume you are ready and you get that high pressure on you all at once.
“So we have to use them wisely. A lot of players have played this year, Liam has played from the start then the next game he is coming on and then he’s been out of the squad and in again.
“We are trying to do it in the right manner, but we have to win and develop and that’s the tough thing with big clubs.”
Deila is confident Henderson will return to Celtic all the stronger for his experience in Norway. He added: “That’s the goal. If I had been selfish, I wouldn’t have let him go.
“I would maybe have kept him at Parkhead because we will maybe need him in the squad towards the end of the season. But it is a good chance for him to get experience at a big club with high expectations.
“He can play the whole of June as well and that is what he needs.
“I think that would be a positive thing if more young players got that experience, I really do. Tony Watt did it, for example.
“You have to learn new things about yourself and be on your own. That can make you grow up and develop as a player.
“There are a lot of good places around Europe where you can go and they take care of players in the right way and develop them in the right direction.
“Rosenborg is one of them. They have developed a lot of good players in the last 20 years.”