Ex-Celt Named as Top Youth Talent

Online football magazine Goal released its annual NXGN List of the 50 best youth talents in world football today with one name in particular standing out to readers with a Celtic of a State Mind.

The player in question being former Celtic starlet Ben Doak.  The winger, 17, is now of course making an impact down south with Liverpool, but was given his first-team debut last season at Celtic by Ange Postecoglou.

Goal’s NXGN list comprises of the 50 top talents in the world game born from 2004 onwards, with past winners including the likes of Barcelona’s Ansu Fati and Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund. Doak’s inclusion in this year’s list is further testament of how highly the Dalry born youngster is regarded.

Doak made an instant and lasting impression in his brief appearances in the Hoops last season. His forceful and direct style endeared him to the fans who hoped the youngster would ignore Liverpool’s calling and stay in Glasgow.

Alas, the lure of the Premiership and a deal that could easily set him up for life financially proved too much to resist as Doak joined the Merseyside outfit during the summer for a development fee of around £600,000.

With 5 first team appearances and a string of starring roles in the UEFA Youth League under his belt this season, Doak appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

However, for every Ben Doak there are a dozen cautionary tales of players who have gone down south and failed to make the grade.

One such player was discussed on today’s ACSOM Bulletin as Paul John and Lawrence highlighted the case of Islam Feruz.

The “prodigious talent” as Paul described him left Celtic for Chelsea in 2011 being touted as one of the top talents in Europe.

Somali born, Feruz and his family were threatened with deportation in 2007 before the late Tommy Burns stepped in on the family’s behalf to campaign for them to remain in Scotland.  It was a fitting gesture that Feruz made his Celtic debut at the age of 14 in Tommy’s memorial match.

Two years on from that game, Feruz, on the advice of his agents, made the move to London for a reported £2,500 a week salary.

In his 8 years at Stamford Bridge Feruz failed to play a single competitive game for Chelsea.  5 unsuccessful loan spells at clubs across the UK and Europe, including one at Hibs, yielded a total of 23 senior appearance across his career.

The winger retired in 2019, two years after playing his last competitive game on loan at Swindon Town in the English League One.

Ben Doak’s career is unlikely to follow the same path Feruz, but the message is clear, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Leave a Reply