13-Year-Old Prodigy Karamoko Dembele Is Playing The International Field
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Celtic’s Karamoko Dembele, the 13-year-old prodigy who made headlines when making his debut for Celtic’s U-20 side, has triggered an international arms race between England and Scotland as both countries look to secure his services at the youth level.
Last week, Dembele made his bow with Scotland when appearing for their U-16 side against Wales. On Monday night, Dembele then appeared for England’s Under-15s in their match against Turkey, registering an assist for the Three Lion Cubs.
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) December 20, 2016
Dembele was born in London, but his family moved to Glasgow when he was five years old. His parents were born in the Ivory Coast, so Dembele is eligible to represent England, Scotland or the Ivory Coast at the international level.
A 2004 ruling from FIFA made it possible for a player to represent one country at youth international level and another at senior international level, so it’s anybody’s guess as to who Dembele will ultimately choose. That will, of course, also necessitate that particular country selecting him for senior duty, an honor which the 13-year-old is still a long way from earning.
However, the Scottish FA are particularly keen to land Dembele, especially in light of their failure to qualify for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup. Scottish chief executive Stewart Regan has said, “We will try to do everything we can to bring him into the Scottish system. If you have talented players who are eligible for other countries, they are always going to be attractive to other associations. Ultimately, the choice will come down to the boy and his parents.”
(H/T: Who Ate All The Pies)