Celtic B team manager Stephen McManus believes there is no better test for his proteges than the upcoming UEFA Youth League group stage games.
The competition, part of which mirrors the Champions League group stage, will see the Hoops take on Real Madrid first, with Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig the other opponents waiting in the wings.
Celtic return to the Youth League for the first time since the 2017/18 season, which was also the last time the first team qualified for the Champions League group stage.
McManus believes there will be no better test for his youngsters than to see how they fare against others in their age group from big clubs across Europe.
The 39-year-old said that as a coach, his main prerogative is to prepare young Hoops for the first team and that at this stage of their fledgling career, the competition provides them with invaluable experience when it comes to playing. continental action.
“To play in the Youth League you usually never have the opportunity to play against Europe’s best players at that age, so it gives them the opportunity to see where they are at and test themselves against the best in Europe. Europe”McManus said in his pre-match press conference.
“With the games we have this year there are different challenges and part of our job as coaches is to try to give the players as much experience in order to prepare them for the first-team environment.
“There’s no better test than playing against the best teams in Europe and it’s an opportunity as a group to see where they stand.
“At the end of the day the highlight of their career is not playing in the Youth League, their goal is to play in the Champions League and be a Callum MacGregor or James Forrest and at this stage of their career , it will be a valuable experience for them.”
McManus will be looking to see which of his Celtic talents will sink or swim amid tough Youth League competition.