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Celtic’s Stepping Stone Dilemma & Challenges Of Keeping Young Talent

We caught up with ex-Celtic striker Harald Brattbakk to discuss Celtic’s stepping stone dilemma and the approach to developing young players.

Brattbakk also breaks down the Hoops’ forthcoming campaign under Brendan Rodgers, his memories playing for and against Celtic and who the next star coming out of Norway will be.

Players Using Celtic As A Stepping Stone?

What did you make of Yang Hyun-Jun’s quotes about wanting to get a move to a Premier League club after playing well in Scotland?

This is a classic example of perhaps not having the right people around you; I understand what he thinks, but sometimes what you think is not what you should be saying. The supporters are the ones who come to see you every week, it’s wise to leave things unsaid.

If he wants to use Celtic as a stepping stone, then that’s fine, but you don’t need to say that. He just needs to show everyone his mind is with Celtic.

Clubs like Celtic need to be getting these players when they are young and full of potential, because it is a smart business model to take. For the player, the motivation is to play as high as possible and the clubs should look at player development as a business case.

Celtic should look at every young player as a business case and the players should have good enough advisors to tell them what to say at the right times. I just hope Brendan can put a good team together and do well in Europe, because that is the way they can keep producing strong players and be financially viable.

Jota moved to the Saudi Pro League this summer, how big of a loss is that? Is the Saudi league more appealing to footballers now than playing in Scotland?

I don’t mind players who are honest and are going to Saudi just for the money, the influx of Saudi money has definitely done something to European football. A lot of good players have moved to Saudi, but some of the teams that are playing there are still really poor. If they came to the Premier League, they would get absolutely battered.

The quality is still much better in Europe. Saudi Arabia is still entitled to pay large sums for these players, but if you are in your early 20’s and you want to have a career, playing your best footballing years in Saudi will mean that you are not interesting enough for European clubs by the time your peak years are arriving.

Until we get that shift in quality in Saudi Arabia, it will always be more beneficial for players to stay in Europe. We can have this discussion in a year because there has been a definite change in the dynamics of European football because of Saudi Arabia.

How Celtic And Rangers Compare To The Premier League’s Big Six

How would Celtic and Rangers fare in the Premier League, if they left the Scottish Premiership?

They would have a really hard time competing with the Top 6 teams in the Premier League. It would give them much more financial muscle to utilise in the league however, they should still continue to prioritise developing young talent for high profits as that would make them more likely to compete.

Scottish football would not allow it, so there is no chance this is even remotely possible. As long as they can compete well against European clubs on a consistent basis in the Champions League, then any talk of the Premier League is just premature.

Drawing Against The Arsenal Invincibles Team

What can you remember about the Arsenal Invincibles team you drew 1-1 with?

I always felt like we had an advantage playing at home, regardless of who we were playing. It’s hard to explain it, but with the crowd in the back and your comfort and knowledge of the situation playing at home it was a massive benefit to us.

You don’t have to travel, you stay near the stadium once you finish training and I remember having a great session before the game and then just having home comforts right at your fingertips.

We believed we could give Arsenal a good fight at home, despite the fact they were unbeaten champions. They may have been the Invincibles, but that was not our concern. There were so many factors we could control.

But also what made it exciting were the parts that were outside of our control as well. Things like the referee, the weather, the pitch, the opponent, they show up on the night you play and we knew we were in charge of the factors we could control.

The game showed this as well; we weren’t afraid of Pires, Henry, Vieira, or any of those players. They played a huge part of Arsenal’s history, but we were willing to play our way, our style and we managed to get a really important point against them.

Brattbakk On Scoring Against Celtic

Did it hurt scoring against former side Celtic in 2001, or did you have a point to prove?

I’ve been scoring against former sides for a long time. I scored against Celtic of course, I scored against Copenhagen and I scored against Rosenborg. I’ve never seen it as a point to prove, but I can understand players who don’t want to celebrate too much if you score against a team who you played for after many years.

I always thought players should celebrate when they score, so I had nothing to prove during my career and I think I made the most out of the opportunities that were afforded to me.

Norway’s Next Big Star

Scandinavian football is producing some top talent, who is the next star to come out of Norway that will make an impact on European football?

Manchester City have got a lot of talented youngsters, but I have been really impressed by Oscar Bobb. He has made a really strong impression already and I heard rumours that City had to turn down a £50 million bid from someone for him.

It just shows you that there are players who are willing to take the step early enough. Staying in Norway can possibly reduce the type of opportunities you can get, but players like Bobb are heading over to England to play in these great Under-18 teams and then taking their opportunities to make it in the senior team.

I wish I could tell you who exactly is going to be the next great star from Scandinavia, but the influence of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard means every young player in Norway has the motivation to push on and try to make it.

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