Wednesday 26 September 2018

Celtic confirm signing of Irish teenage prodigy Armstrong Okoflex from Arsenal

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA

Sam Roberts

Celtic have confirmed the signing of Dublin-born teenager Armstrong Okoflex from Arsenal on a three-year deal.

The 16-year-old midfielder came through the ranks at St. Kevin's Boys in Dublin and has represented both Ireland and England at underage level.

Okoflex was part of Ireland's U16 squad that won the Victory Shield with a 2-0 win over Scotland last October, but more recently represented England's U16 side in a number of friendlies earlier this year.

The 16-year-old made a number of appearances in the U18 Premier League with Arsenal last season, but said he was convinced to move to Scotland after meeting with manager Brendan Rodgers. The Celtic boss suggested Okoflex could follow in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling, who rose to prominence under Rodgers at Liverpool six years ago.

"This is a massive club and one that plays in Europe, while Celtic are also known for bringing young players through their Academy to their first team. I feel I have a chance to progress here and this is the right club for me at the moment," Okoflex told Celtic's official website.

"I had a meeting with Brendan Rodgers and he was very convincing. He’s a great manager with all the success he’s had at previous clubs and at Celtic, and he was one of the big factors in coming here.

"The manager told me about Raheem Sterling, how he was a young teenager at Liverpool and then he brought him up in pre-season and, because he was doing well and better than the older wingers at the club, he played him in the league games. It shows he’ll play young players and that’s encouraging for me.

"I come from Arsenal and I was U16 and sometimes U18 and I have played a few internationals in my age-groups. Both clubs are quite similar in how they play football as they like to keep possession, move the ball quickly and try and exploit teams and that will really help me."

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