By James Black

Stoke City midfielder Darren Fletcher believes Celtic ace Kieran Tierney has a “massive future” ahead of him as he labelled the full-back as being a “fantastic talent”.

Tierney has forced his way into becoming a regular for club and country and Scotland international Fletcher is confident the 20-year-old can play at the very highest level.

Veteran midfielder Fletcher played alongside some of the best players on the planet during his time at Manchester United and thinks Tierney has all the mental prowess to fulfill his undoubted potential – whether at Celtic or elsewhere.

Tierney is a lifelong Hoops fan and has been a stand-out performer for Brendan Rodgers’ side over the last 18 months as he helped the Hoops to an unbeaten domestic treble and back-to-back qualification for the Champions League group stage.

Fletcher has watched Tierney’s rapid development at Celtic from afar but has got to play with the Isle of Man-born defender during Scotland’s unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign and expects Tierney to continue improving under Brendan Rodgers.

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“He is a fantastic talent with a massive future,” Fletcher said as quoted by the Evening Times website.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him either on or off the pitch.

“I think we are really witnessing the rise of a player who will be a very special talent.

“You are always aware that there can be an element of hype with young players and I always tend to be naturally wary of that but I think with KT it is justified.

“It is not just his natural ability – which is there for all to see – but his power and everything about him.

“But what separates it at this level is those who have the mindset, the determination, the temperament and the character to go to the top level and Kieran ticks all those boxes.

“He has definitely got it.”

Tierney picked up seven caps during Scotland’s World Cup qualification campaign – regularly playing at right-back – and should become a mainstay of the Scottish side when they begin their UEFA Nations League campaign next year.

Before that, the defender and his Celtic team-mates will be aiming to guarantee themselves European football after Christmas in their four remaining Champions League games with Bayern Munich, Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain.

In other Celtic news, Rangers flop Joey Barton has made a big claim about Rodgers and the state of Scottish football.

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