Brendan Rodgers reacts to progress of 13-year-old prodigy Karamoko Dembele

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Karamoko Dembele must be "left alone" in order to continue his development as a footballer.

The 13-year-old experienced a rapid rise to fame earlier this month after his impressive showing in an Under-20s match for the Glasgow-based club and he's been the focus of attention ever since.

The teenage prodigy has received mass media coverage at an extremely young age, and as a result, the former Liverpool boss feels that the best thing for him right now is a degree of shelter from all the limelight.


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In his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturdays' visit of Motherwell, Rodgers said: "I don't want to speak too much on it (the subject of Dembele) because I think the coverage that it has got is not right for the boy.

"This is a 13-year-old kid who's a talented player. I've seen him and I've only been here a few months, so I'm aware of his talent. He came up earlier on and done a session with me with the first-team but at 13 years of age he just needs to be left alone."

The 43-year-old continued, "Let him develop. He's got a lot to learn, a lot to improve in his game. He's a very exciting young player, of course, but he's 13 years of age, so I think that's all to be said on him. Let him develop, let him improve."

Rodgers began his managerial career as a youth team coach and believes that he can continue his strong reputation of bringing through young players at Celtic. He claimed, "Celtic's a club that, if you can do that, you have a great opportunity to make it into the first-team."

Rodgers also stressed: "You have to be very careful with young players. I think this kid doesn't need any more exposure. I've met his family - they're a good family. He's very happy here, he loves Celtic, he loves being here, but he's a child and we all have to be aware of that.

"So, just let him go and let him be free to play and then we'll see where he's at in a few years time. Maybe in three or four years time he might be playing in the first-team but at least give him the opportunity to get there at this crucial stage of his development."

To see what all the fuss is about, take a look at the highlights video below which provides a glimpse of what Dembele is capable of:

Rodgers certainly acknowledges the Ivorian's immense potential but there's no doubt that he is erring on the side of caution - which is more than understandable.

That said, Celtic fans have been blown away by the emergence of the young starlet and they are expecting big things from him in the future.

Do YOU agree with Rodgers' comments? Leave YOUR opinion in the comments box below!

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Brendan Rodgers
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England Football
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