Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he already believes Celtic wonderkid Karamoko Dembele to be talented enough to appear in the first-team squad.
The Parkhead boss was making the point as he defended captain Scott Brown following comments from Craig Levein.
The Hearts manager alleged that Brown had singled out Harry Cochrane for some rough treatment in Tuesday’s match between the sides.
Rodgers questioned whether his counterpart should have been playing the 16-year-old in the first place, making the point that it’s not only about talent when it comes to fielding promising young players.
He said: “You could argue or ask the question ‘does a 16-year-old need to be in a game against a Champions League team at home?’ I think he can play in it, but it’s a question that may be asked. Can he handle it?
“I am sure Craig will look at that as well. For me, he looks a lad with good temperament. You get young players like that who it doesn’t matter if they are playing in front of 10 or 100,000.
“Does the duty of care lie with the manager? Yeah, absolutely. From a talent perspective I could probably put Karamoko Dembele in to the first team right now. But he’s coming up to 15.
“I have to think about where he is at in terms of his maturation level. Not just his talent level.”