Karamoko Dembele: Celtic fans celebrate wonderkid’s debut and laugh ‘he’s won more league title medals than Steven Gerrard’

20 May

Celtic fans are going wild after getting the chance to watch 16-year-old wonderkid Karamoko Dembele in action.

The Bhoys youngster came on for the second half of their 2-1 victory over Heart of Midlothian, replacing Oliver Burke, and proved a lively customer.

Karamoko Dembele made his Celtic bow aged 16 years and 86 days
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His opponents struggled to deal with his speed and skill, while he certainly wasn’t shy about getting a shot a way.

“He is the type of player that you want at Celtic,” manager Neil Lennon said of Dembele.

“He gets the crowd off their feet with his football intelligence. Obviously we need to keep a lid on it, but it’s great that the fans have seen the glimpse of the future.

Dembele received a winners medal at the end of the match with Hearts

“The kid is 16 and we just want to develop him in the right way. He has been training with the first team and I had no hesitation giving him 45 minutes.”

And with the youngster handed a league winners’ medal at the end of the match as Celtic celebrated their eighth title in a row, plenty of fans couldn’t help but rib Rangers manager Steven Gerrard as they hailed their new hero, as you can see below…

Celtic 2-1 Hearts: Hoops lift the Scottish Premiership trophy for the 8th successive season as 16-year-old Karamoko Dembele makes his debut

19 May

Mikey Johnston helped Celtic bring down the curtain on an eighth successive Ladbrokes Premiership title-winning season with a double in a 2-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead.

With a view to next week’s William Hill Scottish Cup final between the two clubs at Hampden Park – where a Hoops victory will secure an unprecedented domestic ‘treble treble’ – both sides were much-changed for the final day of the season.

Amid a celebratory trophy-day atmosphere fringe player Johnston fired in the opener with less than two minutes played but that was cancelled out in the 17th minute by Hearts winger Jake Mulraney.

Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig lift the title at Parkhead
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Neil Lennon replaced Oliver Burke with highly-rated 16-year-old debutant attacker Karamoko Dembele for the start of the second half and he showed plenty of promise, but with six minutes remaining it was Johnston who stepped up with a terrific run and drive to seal the win.

Two unusual but not unexpected line-ups were revealed on the team sheet with the Hoops showing seven changes from last week’s 2-0 defeat at Rangers.

Skipper Scott Brown, Mikael Lustig, Odsonne Edouard, Tom Rogic, Jonny Hayes, Kieran Tierney and James Forrest were all left out, mostly with niggles, with Callum McGregor and Jozo Simunovic on the bench.

Youngster Anthony Ralston and Ewan Henderson and Jeremy Toljan and Nir Bitton were given rare starts.

Mikey Johnston of Celtic celebrates with Anthony Ralston
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Craig Levein made nine changes as he gave 16-year-old left-back Aaron Hickey his first start.

Skipper Christophe Berra, Bobby Burns, Steven MacLean and Harry Cochrane were rested with the Jambos boss hoping Peter Haring, Arnaud Djoum and burly striker Uche Ikpeazu are fit for Hampden.

The champions were given a much-appreciated guard of honour by Hearts before the game at the request of the visitors.

There was then a minute’s applause before the game in tribute to Lisbon Lion Stevie Chalmers who died recently.

Martin Compston of Line of Duty went to watch the champions
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Jake Mulraney of Hearts celebrates after getting onto the scoresheet
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Winger Johnston got the home side off to a great start when he worked a one-two with Henderson and slammed the ball past Zdenek Zlamal from eight yards out.

Mulraney screwed a shot wide a minute later at the other end but was much more accurate with his leveller, after Hoops keeper Scott Bain was slack with a pass.

Sean Clare took possession and rolled the ball to the former Inverness player who curled the ball past the back-tracking Bain and into the top corner.

Zlamal made a terrific save from a Johnston drive early in the second half before Dembele flashed a 25-yard drive just wide, drawing huge applause from the Hoops fans before having another effort saved by the Tynecastle keeper.

Karamoko Dembele had an instant impact for Celtic
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Celtic, captained by Scott Sinclair, piled on the pressure and there was a penalty claim in the 80th minute when defender Kristoffer Ajer’s drive following a long run was blocked by Conor Shaughnessy but referee Craig Thomson was unimpressed.

However, the home fans were impressed when Johnston played a one-two with substitute McGregor, on for Henderson, and drove towards the Jambos goal before firing low past Zlamal and in off the post from the edge of the box for the winner.

Part two of the contest will take place at Hampden next week where the stakes will be much higher.

Celtic news: Karamoko Dembele could make first team debut in final Scottish Premiership game of the season

14 May

Celtic’s rising star, Karomoko Dembele, could make his first team debut this weekend.

The 16-year-old was withdrawn from England Under-17 duty to prepare him for Sunday’s clash against Hearts in the final Scottish Premiership game of the campaign.

Dembele, 16, has been at Celtic since he was 10 and has played for both Scotland and England’s younger sides
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Dembele was picked for the European Championship in Ireland, which would have seen him commit to the Three Lions over Scotland.

But he was instead among the players to stay with their clubs instead of play in the tournament, with Neil Lennon keeping as part of his preparations for Hearts where he is likely to have a place on the bench, report The Sun.

Dembele joined Celtic in 2013, when he was 10, and made his Under-20s debut against Hearts in October 2016 for a side seven years above his age group.

He signed his first professional contract in December 2018 and remains tied to the Hoops until 2021.

His international future remains undecided as he did not play in the Euros, although his recent social media post stated he was “Looking forward to next season with the boys #ENG16”.

England were knocked out at the group stage without Dembele after a draw against France and defeat to the Netherlands for Steve Cooper’s youngsters.

Describing himself as a creative player, he highlighted James Forrest as a source of inspiration and told the Celtic website: “My goal is to play for the first team.

“As soon as I can, I’m going to try to get into the first team, 100 per cent. In the Reserves, every training session, every game – it’s all to prove myself to the manager that I can play in the first team.”

Celtic are already champions, having won their eighth successive title
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Manchester United transfer gossip: The Football Manager wonderkids Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could try to sign this summer

2 Apr

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing for his first summer transfer window as a Premier League manager and the stakes could not be higher.

The Norwegian was appointed as the new Manchester United boss after a sparkling run of form while in caretaker control.

Ole is at the wheel with a permanent deal at Old Trafford

But now though, the hard work begins as Solskjaer must navigate the world of transfer and multi-million pound deals.

With his predecessors trying, and failing, to attract some of the biggest names in world football, the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ has promised to be frugal with his funds.

In order to do so, he may wish to scour the globe for potential superstars rather than trying to outbid rival clubs for current ones.

As a self-confessed fan of computer game Football Manager, Solskjaer may already have his eyes on the superstars of tomorrow. As his 2013 interview with Dagbladet shows, the 46-year-old was already preparing for his career in the dugout.

The former Manchester United striker played Football Manager as a player

“When I played for Man U, I relaxed by playing Football Manager,” revealed Solskjaer.

“It’s a fantastic game, I have learned a lot about football. I have learned a lot about players, especially young talent.

“It resembles real life, when it comes to who will be good players. They have done incredible research.

“I remember thinking the same then, that I do as a manager, you want to give young guns the chance, see them develop.

Championship Manager wonderkid Freddy Adu with Manchester United in 2006

“You could push a few buttons and get extra millions to buy a player. I never enjoyed that. I would rather win in spite of, than because of.

“Many of my players play FIFA and Football Manager. I think it helps them to understand football better.”

So who are the stars of tomorrow the United boss could well be bringing to Old Trafford this summer?

Scroll down to see talkSPORT.com’s list of the Football Manager wonderkids who could potentially be strutting their stuff for the Red Devils.

Harvey Elliott (Fulham)

Harvey Elliott in action for England Under-17s team

At just 15 years of age, Elliott made his senior debut for Fulham in the Carabao Cup clash against Millwall in September 2018.

The production line in west London has produced plenty of fantastic talents in recent years with Ryan Sessegnon and Matt O’Riley graduating from the Cottagers’ academy.

Although further senior appearances have been hard to come by, the right-winger has managed to scored four goals in eight Under-18 Premier League games, assisting two.

Blessed with the ability to shoot from distance and at set-pieces, Harvey Elliott may well be given more game time when Fulham’s inevitable relegation happens.

Xavi Simons (FC Barcelona)

Plays like Messi, named after Xavi and hair like Puyol. No pressure then…

With 1.4 million followers on Instagram and a sponsorship with Nike already agreed, there is every chance fans will be familiar with the 15-year-old.

Born in Amsterdam, Simons gained attention coming through the prestigious La Masia academy as much for his distinctive appearance as his silky skills.

Blessed with excellent dribbling, confidence and an eye for goal, Simons is seen as the next big thing – as his nickname of ‘the new Messi’ would suggest.

A central midfielder with the ability to drive forward, weave past opponents and retain the ball in tight situations at his age could well demand a huge transfer fee in the not-so distant future.

Ronaldo Camara (Benfica)

@rcamara20

Growing up in Portugal with the name ‘Ronaldo‘ must be a tough task, but the young central midfielder has the aggression and skills to ensure he makes a name for himself.

A former graduate of the Sporting Lisbon academy, Camara moved to rivals Benfica at the age of 12 and has continued to make a steady rise through the academy.

The 16-year-old was given the No.10 shirt for the UEFA Youth League squad and has made his mark against the rest of the brightest talents in Europe.

A ‘regista‘ in midfield, Camara presses high to win the ball back before using his wide and illustrious passing range to distribute the ball around to his teammates.

Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)

Moukoko is scoring goals for fun in Germany

Born in Cameroon, Moukoko gained attention of the German media when he left St Pauli in 2016 on a free transfer to join Dortmund.

The 14-year-old has scored a whopping 34 goals in the B-Junioren Bundesliga West this season, with just 21 games of the season played so far.

The striker made his debut for the Germany Under-16 team at the age of just 12 and found the back of the net twice courtesy of two excellent finishes.

Although he is not on Football Manager 19, expect to see the pacy forward either on the 2020 edition or even the season after that as he continues his development.

Dillon Hooegwerf (Ajax)

The striker has earned comparisons to Patrick Kluivert

If you look back over the last several decades, many of the best players in the world can be traced back to the Ajax academy (known as ‘de Toekomst‘).

With Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong currently lighting up the Eredivise in the famous white and red strip, the stage is set for Hoogewerf to make a name for himself once they inevitably leave.

The 16-year-old striker has scored nine goals in 16 Eredivise Under-17 appearances this season and has the ability to play on the flanks.

Two-footed, strong and with the ability to create space for himself, the Netherlands Under-16 star is definitely one for the future.

Karamoko Dembele (Celtic)

The prodigal teen will surely star for the Celtic senior team in no time

Fans will remember the Celtic forward from when he gained notoriety in 2016 after being called up for the Under-20 squad at the tender age of 13, before being invited to train with Brendan Rodgers’ senior squad.

Born in London, Dembele has all the attributes required to make it to the very top of world football, with his dribbling, shooting and passing abilities miles ahead of his peers.

Although he has played for England  at Under-16 level, Dembele has also played for Scotland’s Under-17 side and provided an assist on his debut.

He moved to Scotland at the age of one and, although there will almost certainly be a massive play made by both nations for his international allegiance, fans will appreciate just how physically and technically blessed the 16-year-old is.

Celtic news: Scottish wonderkid Karamoko Dembele signs first professional contract with the Hoops

24 Dec

Celtic have announced 15-year-old wonderkid Karamoko Dembele sign signed his first full-time professional contract with the club, which runs until ‘at least’ 2021.

Schoolboy Dembele, although no longer, has hit the headlines in Scotland as fans and the media monitor his development in the Hoops ranks.

Karamoko Dembele has signed his first contract as a professional footballer with Celtic

 

The young midfielder joined the Scottish champions in 2013 aged ten and made his under-20s debut in 2016 – against players SEVEN years older than him.

He has also starred at international level with Scotland, impressing with his technical ability, speed and eye for a pass.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said back in 2016 that it ‘won’t be long’ until Dembele makes his breakthrough into the senior team.

And while that hasn’t quite happened yet, this is certainly the first step after penning his first full-time deal as a professional footballer.

Speaking to the official Celtic website, Dembele said: “It means a lot to me to start my professional career at Celtic. I came here at a young age, and, after all the stuff me and family have been through together, it’ll be good to make them proud.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone, and I’d like to thank everyone for everything they’ve done for me. I’d also like to thank everyone for the training I’ve received, the discipline I’ve been taught, and the advice I’ve been given all the way.

Dembele has held his own against players several age groups above him

“Getting attention at a young age has been hard, but I’ve obviously had my family to help me through that. You need to be strong mentally, you need to stay grounded, and you just need to get on with everything that you do on a daily basis.

“Seeing players come through the Academy and into the first team gives you hope, because you know they’ve taken the same path. That means you’ve got a chance to make it into the first team if you work hard and give it your all.”

Celtic will not stop Brendan Rodgers from talking to Arsenal about succeeding Arsene Wenger, says Hoops chief
Karamoko Dembele has set his sights on a place in Brendan Rodgers’ senior Celtic side

It appears that despite the huge attention he has drawn from not just in Scotland but in wider European football, Dembele is keeping his feet on the ground.

But the humble teen star admits he has only one aim after signing his first pro contract: “My goal is to play for the first team.

“As soon as I can, I’m going to try to get into the first team, 100 per cent. In the Reserves, every training session, every game – it’s all to prove myself to the manager that I can play in the first team.”