Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers' fatherly instincts have kicked in over 13-year-old Dembele after his debut. Getty

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has already called in 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele to train with the first team, but wants the prodigious youngster kept out of the limelight to continue his development in peace.

Dembele grabbed headlines in September when he came off the bench for Celtic's Under-20 side in a nine-minute cameo against Hearts, playing alongside players seven years his senior.

However Rodgers has been keen to protect the teenager from the inevitable wave of attention that followed, having already seen what he can do on the training pitch.

"I took him for one session early on in my time here," Rodgers told a press conference on Friday (13 October). "It was a light, technical session and you can see how diminutive he is. He is obviously a talent but he is young and there is so much development and so much needs to happen for him to go on and become a player.

"At this moment in time, he is a big talent, we have to nurture and ensure he is challenged – at the right times. I could go through a million kids who I've helped develop and seen. You have to be calm with them, you have to respect their talent. You have to challenge them but there is also a huge psychological side to it, especially in the modern world with social media."

Dembele's surprise introduction sparked a frenzy of hype over his burgeoning potential, with clips of his performances against Barcelona and Lyon in the St Kevin's Boys Academy Cup in Dublin fuelling that fever.

Rodgers, however, was not aware the teenager was being primed for that appearance off the bench against Hearts.

"I didn't know he was playing. But that is not the point, the point is that he has played. It's about the individual, you have to be very careful.

"He is a kid, that's what he is. He's not a 13-year-old in the body of a 19-year-old or with an advanced maturation level. He looks 13 in as much as where his ability is and how fast he is.

"The worry for me when I saw was, what if a 25-year-old tackles him? I'm a father, we are parents and as good as they are, I worry from a father's perspective. He's a talent and has lots of going for him but he is a child, he's a bay. I don't want to speak too much on it because he is a child."