TEENAGE midfielder Kundai Benyu quit Ipswich for Celtic in a four-year deal in the summer of 2017.

The highly-rated playmaker immediately joined the Hoops’ treble-winners at their training camp in Austria.

Benyu said: “It’s a massive honour to sign for the Scottish champions and one of the world’s great clubs.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to develop under Brendan Rodgers.”

London-born Benyu did not feature in the Portman Road first team the previous season after being loaned to National League side Aldershot Town where he netted five goals in 23 appearances.

The 19-year-old prospect continued: “I’m looking forward to meeting up with my new Celtic team-mates.

“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I am ready for this. I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”

NOW YOU SEE ME…Kundai Benyu in one of his four Celtic appearances.

Benyu had been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Aston Villa and had previously been allowed to play for Spurs in a European youth tournament, but he felt working with Rodgers at Celtic was the right move.

He added: “I know I’m joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, with 60,000 fans at every home game, which is crazy,” he said.

“In my opinion, Celtic are bigger than all of those clubs who were interested in me. And the manager persuaded me. The gaffer has helped a lot of young players in the past like Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe, so I’m hoping to be a part of that list.

“That was the main factor, really, because it shows the gaffer’s put faith in me and he trusts that he sees me in his team and that I can improve as a player.

“My ambition is to get into the first-team squad by the start of the season, do the best that I can and improve as a player under the gaffer.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like that for the youngster. He made four appearances – two as substitute – before he was loaned again to Aldershot. He then had temporary switches at Oldham and Helsingborg.

It was clear he had no future at the Hoops and in 2020 he joined Wealdstone. Benyu also had spells with Icelandic teams Vestri and IBV, but, at the age of 26, is currently without a club.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.

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