Karamoko Dembele – who was compared to Lionel Messi aged 16 – joins French minnows Brest after ‘pressure got to him’

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FORMER wonderkid Karamoko Dembele has signed for French minnows Brest.

The 19-year-old winger, who was once compared to Lionel Messi, has penned a four-year deal with the Ligue 1 side.

Karamoko Dembele hit the headlines when he played for Celtic's youth team aged just 13

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Karamoko Dembele hit the headlines when he played for Celtic’s youth team aged just 13Credit: Kenny Ramsay
The attacker has now joined French minnows Brest

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The attacker has now joined French minnows BrestCredit: The Sun

Dembele first hit the headlines aged 13 when he made his debut for Celtic’s U20 side.

After initially representing Scotland at U16 level, the London-born ace switched allegiance to England and won caps all the way up until the U18s.

He then made his senior Celtic debut in May 2019 in a 2–1 victory against Hearts.

Dembele was saddled with huge hopes from an early age, but his rise was halted when he suffered an injury a year ago in pre-season that kept him sidelined for over six months.

However, he finally returned with a six-minute sub appearance against St Mirren in March.

He only added a further 14 minutes in the Scottish Cup against Dundee United as first team opportunities remained limited before he departed the Hoops when his contract expired last month.

Now Dembele has begun a new adventure in France after penning his deal at Brest.

He said: “I came to Brest because I saw that the project presented by Greg Lorenzi [Brest’s sporting director] was good. 

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“It’s something that suits me and I think I can have some playing time here. 

“It was a great opportunity that presented itself to me and it interested me.

“I’m very explosive, I like to have fun and give it to the fans and of course I like to score and win.”

Dembele attracted the attention of Man City and Barcelona after video’s emerged online of the attackers talents in the Hoops youth set up.

And by the age of 16 he was tipped to ‘revolutionise football’ but now six years on he leaves Parkhead with only eight first team appearances to his name – with ex-Celtic defender Mark Wilson believing pressure played a big role.

Speaking on Clyde Superscoreboard, Wilson said: “He’s got probably something to prove. He will be desperate to show that he is the player everybody thought he could be.

“So it could be but just the whole spotlight on him in this country. I mean, how many kids can we say that about in Scotland?

“Well, it’s incredibly difficult.

“I wish we would stop putting so much pressure on our young players who comes through because it does hinder them. There’s no doubt about it.

“You know, we should let them go and play, dip in and out the team when it suits. And there was so many questions.

“Why is he not starting in the first team?

“He obviously wasn’t quite ready and even when he did play, the fans seen him coming on, they would be expecting too much again.

“There’s no doubt he’s got talent. And I wish him all the best. I hope he goes away and I hope he plays for a number of years.

“I mean, you get in England. Remember Wayne Rooney came through from 16, this kid is a wonderkid and he proved he was.This goes back a long, long way.

“I mean, this goes back since 2013 this kid has had this pressure. How do you deal with that?”

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