Karamoko Dembele will attract plenty of attention during Celtic’s pre-season matches in Austria and Switzerland with the 16-year-old expected to make a mark on the first team in the season ahead.
The England youth internationalist has been the subject of attention for four years but faces a vital stage in his development as he adapts to the senior game. Being singled out for rough treatment is nothing new but at first team level it will be more sophisticated.
Dembele is far from the only emerging talent flying out to Austria with eight other young players hoping that they can make their mark on the new management.
Armstrong Oko-Flex made the move from Arsenal last summer and like Dembele is an England youth internationalist. He put together an impressive run of performances in February and March but his form fizzled out a little towards the end of the season.
Ross Doohan and Conor Hazard impressed on loan in the Championship at Ayr United and Partick Thistle last season with both advancing their international prospects. Goalkeeping is a very difficult position to develop in, the Celtic breakthrough is highly unlikely in the season ahead meaning that a good long term loan is essential.
Ewan Henderson enjoyed a brief run in the side as Brendan Rodgers packed his toothbrush for Leicester and made a big impression. In the final SPFL match of the season he was outstanding against Hearts. The arrival of David Turnbull presents a very obvious obstacle to his progress, he has a vital season ahead.
Liam Morrison, is apparently on the wanted list of Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim and still to commit to a professional contract at Celtic. He played for the u-18 side last season, Celtic are keen to get him tied onto a pro deal.
Scott Robertson was on the fringes of the Reserve squad last season but is highly rated within the club, he was involved in 11 Reserve League matches last season.
Stephen Welsh could be about to get a chance to impress after another outstanding season with the Reserves, playing in 21 matches across three competitions. His reading of the game belies his years, alongside Kris Ajer there is the making of a strong partnership but only if he is given a game or two.
Grant Savoury– the comeback kid. Struggled to make an impact on the Reserve side over the last two seasons and was left without a contract at the end of last season. Neil Lennon invited him back for pre-season training and after a couple of sessions the wide midfielder/winger picked up a one year contract.
Barry Coffey– featured in 11 Reserve matches last season, he can do a bit of everything from midfield with a good range of passing, the ability to tackle and knows how to time his forward runs. Midfield places look like being at a premium in the season ahead.