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Celtic is one of European football’s most elite clubs, and it is certainly a breeding ground for many young footballing talents. Brendan Rodgers, their manager, has a good eye for ‘promising’ starlets and that has served him well on a number of occasions. Defender Anthony Ralston is the latest player under him, who has grabbed the attention of the scouts with his football, with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, and West Ham United all reportedly keeping tabs on him.
Let us take a look at the youngster and try to find out why exactly he is making such a name for himself.
Born in Belshill, Scotland on the 16th of November in 1998, Ralston joined Celtic’s youth academy in 2009 at the age of 11 and has been with them ever since. Playing as a right-back, he made his first appearance for the Celtic first team on 11 May 2016, in a 2–1 defeat against St. Johnstone. He scored his first goal for Celtic in a 5-0 Scottish League Cup win over Kilmarnock on 8 August 2017.
Th 18-year-old is the quintessential modern-day fullback, who is more keen on joining the attack than to defend. In 4 appearances for The Hoops this season, he has not only scored a goal but has also provided two assists.
He was also extremely impressive in the Toulon tournament this summer and has been training with Gordon Strachan’s senior Scotland squad. Blessed with great pace and an excellent game reading ability, Ralston was instrumental in the Scotland U21s win over the Netherlands in the midweek.
While he has had a promising run of games so far, the Premier League is a completely different ball game when compared to the Scottish league or international football. As good as he is on the ball, Ralston must improve at his main job, which is defending. It is imperative that he matures soon in order to make a lasting impression on the biggest stage of them all.
Right now, Ralston’s contract with Celtic runs until the summer of 2019. It would be wise on his part to stay under Rodger’s tutelage until then, learning the tricks of the game and not letting any undue attention get to him. Slaven Bilic views him as a long-term successor of Pablo Zabaleta at West Ham. So if he continues to deliver good performances for his club and country, his stock will keep on rising and soon he will have concrete offers from the big clubs.