Rodgers back­ing Brown to one day take over the reins at Celtic

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY RON­NIE ES­PLIN

BRENDAN Rodgers be­lieves Celtic skip­per Scott Brown could join the list of Hoops play­ers who be­came man­ager of the club.

The Ul­ster­man picked up the Lad­brokes Premier­ship Man­ager of the Year award at Len­nox­town af­ter guid­ing Celtic to their sev­enth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle and with the prom­ise of an un­prece­dented suc­ces­sive do­mes­tic tre­ble in Satur­day’s Wil­liam Hill Scot­tish Cup fi­nal against Mother­well at Ham­p­den.

Be­side him at the photo call was his 32-year-old skip­per, who was col­lect­ing the Player of the Year award from the com­pe­ti­tion spon­sors.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, Hoops boss Rodgers — who con­firmed winger Pa­trick Roberts will re­turn to Manch­ester City af­ter his sec­ond loan spell — sur­veyed the prospect of Brown one day sit­ting in his chair.

“I don’t see any rea­son why not,” said Rodgers.

“His legs are still strong, he is still look­ing af­ter him­self and this sea­son he has won ev­ery­thing, ev­ery award go­ing, and he has more years left.

“But there is no doubt, if he wants to go down that route he will need to go away, do his qual­i­fi­ca­tions and study and get his ex­pe­ri­ences.

“He has a great his­tory here but he knows if he goes into man­age­ment it is a dif­fer­ent sport, you leave your medals and cups at the door as it is a dif­fer­ent game.

“But I am sure that later in life that is some­thing that he can head towards. The likes of Neil Len­non did it here, Billy McNeill did it here and other play­ers so I am sure he would like to fol­low in their foot­steps.”

Rodgers, how­ever, cur­tailed Brown’s coach­ing aspirations when he took over the club in 2016, in or­der to get more out of him as a player.

The for­mer Swansea and Liver­pool boss said: “When I first came in he was coach­ing here and I told him that if he had no plans to re­tire soon to step out of it. I felt it was eat­ing too much into his time as a player, so he has come away from that.”

Turn­ing his at­ten­tion to next sea­son, Ul­ster­man Rodgers ad­mit­ted that he would have ex­pected a tougher chal­lenge from Rangers re­gard­less of Steven Ger­rard’s ap­point­ment as new Ibrox boss.

The Light Blues ul­ti­mately fin­ished third un­der care­taker boss Jimmy Ni­choll, who will make way for the ex-Eng­land and Liver­pool cap­tain, who worked un­der Rodgers at An­field.

Asked if he ex­pected the ar­rival of Ger­rard at Rangers would make it even tougher next sea­son, Rodgers said: “I would ex­pect who­ever was in charge at Rangers for it to be tougher.

“That’s how foot­ball works, each year it gets tougher and more dif­fi­cult and that will be no dif­fer­ent, who­ever was tak­ing charge, whether it was Steven or any­one else.

“The com­pe­ti­tion was al­ways there and it will be next sea­son and we have to im­prove again next sea­son which we will do both in­di­vid­u­ally and also as a team.”

Close bond: Brendan Rodgers be­lieves cap­tain Scott Brown has a fu­ture in man­age­ment

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