Celtic assistant makes huge statement on quality of midfield star, draws Messi comparison

Celtic Stands

John Collins says Patrick Roberts is reminiscent of five-time Ballon d'Or-winner Lionel Messi and should be aiming to emulate the Barcelona star.

Celtic manager John Collins has made a very big claim indeed about on-loan winger Patrick Roberts, saying the teenager is reminiscent of Lionel Messi and should be aiming to emulate the Barcelona star, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

Roberts scored the first senior goals of his career with a superb brace for the Bhoys in a 3-1 win over Hearts on Saturday, dinking a fine finish over over Neil Alexander before driving fiercely past the goalkeeper for his second.

Although he had previously shown glimpses of raw talent, the two-goal display was the first real sign that the Scottish Premiership leaders might have a genuine star of the future on their hands.

Collins certainly believes that to be the case, and suggested that the 19-year-old can create the same edge-of-the-seat excitement at Parkhead as Lionel Messi does all around the world.

The Hoops assistant said, as quoted by the Daily Mail: "I don't like comparing him to the best player in the world, which in my opinion is Messi. But you can see where people get the resemblances. He is left-footed, he likes to take people on, and if he ends up half as good as Messi then he has done well.

"That has got to be his target, to try to emulate what Lionel Messi does week-in, week-out, which is score goals, create chances. He is one of those players who gets you on the edge of your seat. When he gets the ball the first thing in his mind is can he take on a defender.

"He is a type of player I like watching. At the end of the day you have to have an end product and at the weekend he had what we are looking for from wide players, beating players and getting shots on target and finishing off with goals. The most important thing is continual progress. He has to produce week-in, week-out, that's what top players do."

Roberts has been billed as one of the brightest young talents in English football since rising to prominence at Fulham, where he made 20 appearances and attracted interest from top Premier League clubs.

One of those was Manchester City, who paid around £11 million to sign the then-18-year-old last summer but allowed the youngster to join Celtic on an 18-month loan deal at the end of January.

He may only be on loan to the Bhoys, but if Roberts can build upon his biggest starring role to date at the weekend, Ronny Deila's side could profit hugely from the England Under-19 international's development.

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