BRENDAN RODGERS has backed Karamoko Dembele to be the next big thing at Celtic.
And the Hoops boss has even tipped the 13-year-old midfielder to break into the first team “at a very young age”.
Rodgers has been hugely protective of the Glasgow schoolboy who created a worldwide buzz when he turned out for their Under-20 team as a substitute against Hearts at Cappielow in October.
The Parkhead chief insisted he would be taking a hands-on role in the nurturing of the talented tot whose international future is already being fought over by Scotland and England.
Rodgers predicted a bright future for young Dembele – even if the big breakthrough is still a couple of years down the line.
The Irishman said: “He’s 14 in February, he’s big talent and just needs the time to be nurtured and developed.
“But it won’t be long. If he keeps going the way he is going, he could be one of those boys who is in the team at a very young age.
“It’s nice for him. He’s enjoying his football, he gets looked after very well here at Celtic, he and the coaches have a great trust.”
Speaking on Talksport, Rodgers added: “We hope in the next number of years he could be the next one coming through.
“He’s played for Scotland, he’s played for England – and he can actually play for the Ivory Coast, as well.”