The achievement of Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in English soccer hasn’t changed the opinion of Premier League scouts in regards to ability in Scotland, says former Celtic celebrity Harald Brattbakk, with move goals”not ranked high enough”.
Two name winners in waiting at Anfield have demonstrated that potential could be unearthed from the Scottish Premiership.
There’s loads of talent generating interest north of the boundary currently, with Celtic celebrities Odsonne Edouard and Kris Ajer said to be attracting admiring glances from afar.
Brattbakk isn’t convinced that they will find the big-money moves they deserve, to the calibre of the club they are capable of gracing, with there still reluctance on the part of Premier League teams to bet on gamers in a different British recruitment pool.
“A lot of great players in Scotland aren’t rated high enough because they believe that Scottish football isn’t good enough,” ex-Norway global striker Brattbakk told the Glasgow Times.
“Van Dijk needed to go to Southampton and play two seasons prior to Liverpool believed he was good enough. They might have bought him for $55 million directly from Celtic but they needed to cover $30m more from Southampton.
“But it demonstrates that there are a lot of great players in Scotland — even going back to the likes of Henrik Larsson who scored 50 goals a season and proceeded to win Champions League with Barcelona.
“Andrew Robertson, also. There are several excellent players in the system and I just hope that more get the opportunity to play for Scottish teams, but also if they wish to proceed, then it is possible.”
Present Norway star Ajer is reportedly a summer target for former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers in Leicester, with his representative admitting a movement could be on the cards within another window, however Brattbakk says a fellow countryman won’t force a switch.
He added:”I do not think Kris is the sort of man that needs that to have a fantastic career.
But money is a significant issue. I heard Van Dijk doubled his wages going to Southampton and then doubled it again when he moved to Liverpool.
“Obviously that could make a difference and you would be stupid to say no to doubling your money someplace else. But it needs to be a fantastic match for the player also. The money that’s in soccer now is so large at that level anyway — if you’ve got three million per year or five million per year, who cares? It doesn’t really make a difference.
“It is more important to select a club that suits you. But what impresses me most is that he’s good at school also. He left college with all As. That is equally impressive and informs me that he’s focused on what he does.
“He isn’t the quickest, he’s a big guy but not the strongest. But he simply puts together each of these qualities and becomes a brilliant central defender. He’s consistent most of all. He’s extremely mature. He’s important for Celtic and for Norway.”