THE majority of Celtic supporters may not be too familiar with what new forward Jonathan Afolabi can bring to their team, but according to a man who has worked closely with the striker, Premiership defenders will soon know all about him.

As head coach of the Republic of Ireland under-19s, Tom Mohan has played a key role in nurturing Afolabi’s potential to the point where he was a standout performer in the under-19 European Championships that were held in the summer.

He believes that Celtic certainly have a player on their hands, and while he is keen to temper expectations around the immediate impact the 19-year-old can have, he is in no doubt he has all the attributes to be a big success in the green and white.

“Johnny was named in the team of the tournament in the Euros, so that goes to show the quality of player that he is,” said Mohan.

“He has all the attributes you would associate with the best centre-forwards. He’s big, strong, he holds the ball up well, and he isn’t afraid to run at people. He’s positive and he scores goals.

“Everybody looks at him and sees he is a big, strong fella, but there is much more to his game than just power and pace. He’s got a great touch too. He has even shown in the past that he is comfortable playing out wide.

“It can be dangerous to say who is going to do what in the game. The big test is playing senior football and playing against men, and that’s the next challenge for Johnny. He realises that.

“It’s all down to the player, we’re dealing with potential at the moment, but he’s definitely got the attributes to go far.

“I can only base it on what I’ve seen, but he has come up against the real top-level nations and he has acquitted himself really well. He played a massive role in our success and getting to the European semis.

“He wasn’t available for that game against Portugal, and they breathed a real sigh of relief. He picked up a harsh yellow card and was suspended, and it was a big blow because he was doing so well for us.”

What makes Mohan’s belief in Afolabi’s chances steadfast is the first-class attitude that goes hand-in-hand with the ability the youngster possesses.

“There is never an issue with Johnny,” he said. “He’s very committed and he gives everything for the jersey.

“He’s a real team player. He’s a good listener and he’s prepared to implement the gameplan, but within that, his quality is a massive attribute to our team.

“He has a great temperament about him and I’ve no doubt he can handle playing for Celtic. Celtic is a massive club, but I think he can flourish.

“He is ambitious. He’s the sort of lad that won’t just settle for winning a contract, his ambition will be to get into that first-team. He’ll back himself.

“He went into the European Championships without having a club, but he knew that if he went out there, prepared himself well and impressed there would be a lot of interest in him, and that’s the way it’s worked out.

“That’s the mindset he has, he has huge belief in his own ability.”