Evolution seems to be at the forefront of Ronny Deila’s philosophy. Less than a year ago, many were willing to go all “Le Guen” on him.
We saw how the French revolution turned out at Oldco. At Celtic, I like the Norwegian approach and how that is turning out.
Celtic have tried things their way for a good few years. This new way forward excites me.
A smaller squad to accommodate the youth who are filtering through. Why weren’t we doing this sooner?
Tommy Burns was pursuing youth development in the mid-90’s. He got some backing but not the full backing he desired.
Today Ronny is getting that backing and I welcome it. Too many squad players on salaries they don’t deserve have drained the club for too long.
Give youth a chance and see just how good your investment is. Ronny is suggesting a suitable squad size is not far away from being achieved.
This is the way forward, particularly where youth development is concerned. The prospect of actually seeing young players getting the opportunity is long overdue.
Yes, we’ve seen the odd young player break onto the scene like Maloney, McGeady and more recently Forrest. That’s one player in every generation that makes it as a regular.
Personally, I’d like to see three or four youth players amongst the ranks regularly. There’s little point investing in youth if you just ship them out once they reach maturity.
Fortunately, Ronny has youth in mind and a squad size to allow those players to filter into the team. Again, this excites me.
All the managers Celtic have had for the last couple of decades have all built Celtic teams by buying players from England and the continent. This ever decreasing spending budget has seen the high spending of the Martin O’Neill days slide to the point where one of his biggest purchases, Neil Lennon, had little to spend when he eventually took the hot seat.
With Ronny Deila, there has been money to spend but Celtic cannot compete with the top clubs. Salaries as well as transfer fees leave Celtic well out of the game.
It was reported that players such as Steven Fletcher and Ikechi Anya were priced of the market for Celtic’s wage structure even if the transfer fees weren’t. Whether these moves were even on the cards doesn’t matter, the point is Celtic must get these kind of players before their wages become the issue.
So if there was ever a reason to utilise the youth you’ve invested in, it is this. Bring in the best, coach them for the first team, play them and pay them what you can afford.
If these players are looking for a bigger salary than Celtic can afford, they’ll need to prove themselves first before they can get those high end wages. At least the club should get something in return if they do move on, as well as having got the use of their services by actually giving them a chance.
In the past Celtic have had some mishaps with players such as Liam Miller who broke onto the scene only to show his true nature by jumping ship. Nobody would have predicted that a player who had been given tremendous support by the club through his injury hell and then given a regular place in the team would have carried out such disloyalty by leaving to join Manchester United for free.
Still, Miller got what he deserved which was a career without much success. I won’t hide my bitterness on this or lie when I say I enjoyed watching his career slide.
You cannot account for players like him, you just have to nurture them and give them a chance. If they choose to stab you in the back that’s out with your control.
More recently, an ill-advised Islam Feruz left Celtic for Chelsea. Again, Celtic were powerless in his move south but it is again another example of disloyalty you cannot account for.
Still, this should never deter you from nurturing young players. They are the lifeblood of the club and all want to make it even if some won’t but if you don’t give them chance you’ll never know.
I look forward to phase two of Ronny Deila’s plans for the team. Leaner, faster with more opportunity for youth.