The Parkhead club’s manager recently tried to play down the publicity surrounding the teenager, right, who played for the club’s under-20 side and is at the centre of an international tug of war between Scotland and England.
But in an interview with Talksport yesterday, Rodgers said “it won’t be long” before Dembele makes the first XI. “Karamoko’s played for Scotland, he’s played for England and he can actually play for the Ivory Coast as well,” he told the radio station.
“He’s 14 in February, a big talent and just needs the time to be nurtured and developed.
“But it won’t be long. If he keeps going the way he is going, he could be one of those boys who is in the team at a very young age.
“It’s nice for him. He’s enjoying his football, he gets looked after very well at Celtic, he and the coaches here have a great trust.
“We hope in the next number of years he could be the next one coming through.”
Dembele was called into the Scotland under-16 squad for the recent Victory Shield tournament and made his international debut against Wales. He also played for England U15 against Turkey at the weekend.