Olivier Ntcham stole the show with a stunning free-kick goal for France under-21s against Bulgaria last night. Celtic’s midfielder came on as a 75th minute substitute, not long after teammate Moussa Dembele was subbed off.
Olivier has been capped by France at every age group since under-16. It is a mark of the expectations we have for him, and Moussa, that they are exposed to the demands of the Allianz Arena, despite Olivier having less than 50 senior games under his belt, and Moussa having less than 100.
At similar stages of their development, expectations of Kenny Dalglish and Henrik Larsson were considerably less, while contemporaries, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic took years to reach peak form.
What we have seen from Olivier, and to a lesser extent Moussa, is a glimpse of their potential. Playing for Celtic, with its unique mix of expectations to win every domestic game, indifferent domestic opponents, and regular Champions League football, provides a great opportunity to polish potential into the finished article.
Young players will get first team opportunities in less demanding games, while 18-year-olds like Anthony Ralston will be asked to get stuck in against PSG. I doubt any other club can offer a better environment to develop talent, which explains why we can attract Moussa, Olivier and Odsonne Edouard.
NEW CQN PODCAST OUT NOW!
A Celtic State of Mind presents its 23rd instalment of insightful discussion into the culture of Celtic Football Club, the city of Glasgow, and fans of the reigning invincible Scottish champions.
Paul John Dykes is joined by Bafta-winning documentary director, John MacLaverty, and Scottish comedian, Phil Differ.
John’s Lisbon Lions documentary – Glasgow: 1967 – is an incredible celebration of Celtic’s European Cup win 50 years on.
Phil has been a staple part of Scottish comedy for decades, and has worked on such iconic productions as Scotch & Wry, Naked Video, City Lights, Rab C Nesbitt and Only An Excuse.
The CQN Podcast has gone from strength-to-strength over the last few months, and there are many more guests lined up in the months ahead from the world of sport, music, film, art, broadcasting, literature and politics.
NEW FROM CQN BOOKS! JIM CRAIG – RIGHT BACK TO 67, THE LISBON LION DIARY, ORDER A SIGNED COPY NOW!