Karamoko Dembele must leave Celtic on loan this summer, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the teenage “sensation” needed to develop physically if he is going to make it at Parkhead.
Speaking to the Daily Record, interim boss John Kennedy revealed the 18-year-old still has another year on his contract amid speculation it expired this summer.
However, he confessed the young winger still needed to develop physically to fulfil his potential.
The teenage winger featured in all four of Celtic’s final league games this season and scored his first goal against St Johnstone.
However, Hutton insisted the youngster needed to play regularly to reach his full potential.
Asked if he thought a loan move should be on the cards, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “He has to. He did literally burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old and he was an absolute sensation.
“We thought he was going to be out of this world. It’s not quite worked out, probably, as they planned. He’s quite lightweight but technically skilful, he’s got pace, but it’s difficult within the Scottish league. It’s very physical, the demands are quite high.
“Maybe he’s just not quite suited to it this season. Especially with it being such a tough season, that has obviously gone against him as well. But he needs to play football, he needs to play minutes against difficult opposition.
“If he’s not going to get games next season under whoever the new manager is, he has to go and play football. He’s getting to that stage now where it’s like: ‘He was a fantastic prospect coming through. He just didn’t quite cut it.’
“For him, as a player, he needs to go away and prove his worth. Show everybody at Celtic how good he actually is and come back a better player. That’s what I’d be telling him if I was in charge.”
Dembele has played eight times for Celtic’s senior side so far.
However, he is still waiting to make his full debut for the Hoops.