PEP GUARDIOLA has claimed Moussa Dembele  is “exceptional” – and Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers insists such praise will inspire his 20-year-old’s startling progress.
The French striker, who has netted 17 goals since arriving from Fulham in the summer, will line up against Manchester City in tonight’s final Champions League game at the Etihad.
He netted twice against Guardiola’s outfit in the 3-3 draw in September and will be watched again by a host of big-name clubs as the curtain comes down on the Hoops’ involvement in Europe for the season.
Guardiola said: “If you read the newspapers in the last six months, since I became a coach at Manchester City, maybe I have had contact with 126 players.

“Dembele is another one. But the quality in Dembele is there. He is an exceptional player.”

Rodgers, though, is adamant the France Under-21 international won’t be flustered by a public declaration of admiration from one of the most esteemed managers in football.

He said: “Moussa is very grounded, it’s one of the really impressive things about him. He is really calm underneath it all. He knows clearly what he wants to achieve.unspecified-13

“He’s still young, only turned 20, and there is still a lot to come from him. There is a lot for him to learn and to improve.

“But City felt his performance that night against them at Celtic Park was exceptional.

“His temperament is very impressive and that’s why he will go on and be a world-class striker at the very highest level in Europe.

“One, because of his ability, but also because he is not affected. He is a big-game player.

“What should be nice for people in Scottish football is that instead of him being talked about as a £5million player going to a lower-end team in the Premier League, you are talking about £30-£40million and going to some of the biggest teams in Europe.

“So, we are not doing too bad at Celtic if that is the type of player we can develop. Over the coming years we are only going to get better.”

Rodgers was able to see the funny side of what might happen to Dembele’s value if he nets another brace tonight.

The Celtic boss quipped: “That’d set us up for another five years or so!”


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