RONNY Deila last night appealed to the Football Association not to force Patrick Roberts to represent England in the European Under-19 Championships this summer – and allow him to play for Celtic in their Champions League qualifiers instead.

Roberts, the on-loan Manchester City winger, scored twice in the first half as Celtic defeated their nearest rivals Aberdeen 3-2 at Parkhead yesterday to finally retain the Ladbrokes Premiership title.

The 19-year-old is committed to playing for the Scottish champions next season and Deila believes he can be an important player for them as they attempt to secure a place in the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in three years.

However, his country are keen to take the youngster, who City paid Fulham a £12 million transfer fee for last summer, to Germany with them in July and the FA may compel him to turn out for his national team.

Deila, though, feels being involved in the Champions League qualifying matches would be far more beneficial for the player and is hopeful that an amicable agreement can be reached between the interested parties.

“He is on fire nowadays,” he said. “He is a special talent. I have a lot of talents, but he is special. You can see that every time he gets the ball something happens. He lifts you up out of the seats and he is only 19-years-old.

“I am so happy that we keep him for next season as well because I think he will just get better as well. He can make a difference in Champions League qualifying for Celtic.

“He has international level in him and he will get better. Every time it is an important occasion he gets better. He has a self-belief and a confidence that is special. You need that sometimes.

“For a young kid, he is never afraid to get the ball. He always, maybe too much sometimes, goes straight at people to get past them. If he can keep on working hard defensively, like he did today, he will be important.

“We talk about how much we need Leigh because he scores so many goals. We need wingers who can score goals as well. Now he has scored five and that is a good thing.”

Deila continued: “It is important, to get him together with the team from the start. That, of course, is something that he wants and also the club wants. But, again, there are rules, so we will see what is happening.”

“I think it is more important that Patrick Roberts gets to be the best first team player he can be. He has played a lot of youth football in his life. He needs to play special games and Champions League are special games.”

“I think they (the FA) can say that you go with us, but, again, you can’t force anybody to go. If he doesn’t want to he doesn’t want to. But hopefully the clubs and the association can agree and not put him in a difficult situation.”

“It is much more important for him to play Champions League. It means a lot for Celtic. They are big games. Also, if he keeps away it is then harder for him to get into the team when he comes late into the pre-season. So it is for him as well, to get a good start for next season, start playing at once and get to know the new manager as well.”

Roberts, the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month for April, was named Man of the Match as Celtic secured the points they needed to win their fifth consecutive Scottish title.

“I think it was good to beat Aberdeen to show that we are the best team in the country,” said Deila. “Now we have five in a row and we should be very proud of it and hopefully get a lot more in the next seasons.”

Deila revealed that Charlie Mulgrew had come off with a stiff hamstring at half-time yesterday, but should be available to face either St. Johnstone in Perth on Wednesday night or Motherwell at Parkhead on Sunday.