Football/Soccer

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers brushes off link with Leicester City job

Brendan Rodgers has been a huge success since arriving at Celtic, and last week former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann suggested he should be a target for managerless Leicester City

BRENDAN Rodgers insists he has no plans to leave Celtic Park any time soon, despite being linked with the vacant manager’s job at Leicester City.

Craig Shakespeare was given the sack by the Foxes last week, and former Liverpool midfielder Didier Hamann has suggested the 2016 English champions should approach Bhoys boss Rodgers.

The Carnlough man, a former manager of Swansea City and Liverpool in the Premier League, is regularly linked with jobs elsewhere but says he has no plans to return south of the border any time soon.

“Not really,” said Celtic’s treble-winning manager.

“I don’t really think on it at all, speculation and gossip – it’s not something I particularly indulge in. My only focus is here at Celtic.

“I love my life here, both on the pitch and off the field. We’ve got a big job to do and myself, my staff and the players, we’ve only sort of begun that cycle really.

“I’m very happy where I am. I’ve got a lot of work to do at Celtic.”

Despite his history with the red half of Merseyside, Rodgers is also included among the bookies’ list of possible contenders to replace Ronald Koeman at Everton, after the Dutchman was shown the Goodison Park exit door yesterday.

Rodgers admits he feels sorry for Koeman, and says the short-term approach of some chairmen and demand for instant success makes it “nearly impossible” for managers to put their own stamp on a club.

“It’s unfortunate, Ronald losing his job. He was brought in a year-and-a-half ago because he’d done an excellent job at Southampton,” continued the Hoops boss.

“It’s now becoming nearly impossible to build anything. It’s hard, especially if you’re a developer like myself who wants to develop young players as well and see them grow and see the team flourish and create something.

“There are very few jobs that are going to give you the opportunity to do that now. It’s a shame when any manager loses his job, obviously the expectation there [at Everton] having spent the money, was great.

“But it’s new football. The time given now to managers is very limited.”

And while Celtic supporters love to talk about a potential nine or even 10 in-a-row of Scottish Premiership titles – they have currently clocked up six – Rodgers retains a pragmatic approach, adding: “It’s very difficult to forecast that far in front.

“I’d never be so arrogant to think I could be here that long – I’ve obviously signed a deal here but football changes very quickly.

“Like you see now with Ronald Koeman and other managers, the game is changing very quickly. It’s an aim for the club I’m sure, you want to win as many titles as you possibly can, and obviously our job is to win this one this year.

“Beyond that? That’s a long way off.”

Since taking the reins at Watford in 2008, Rodgers has enjoyed a steady career progression that took him to Reading – briefly – before making the top level breakthrough with Swansea City.

After moving to Liverpool, he just missed out on leading the Anfield club to a first title since 1990, and is now in the second year of a thus far trophy-laden stint in Glasgow.

The day to day nature of club management suits him at the moment, but Rodgers admits a step into the international arena is something that appeals down the line.

“Yeah, it would at some point in my life.

“That’s something I would really look forward to – all the things I was never able to do as a player, you can do as a coach.

“The opportunity to one day go to a European Championship or a World Cup would be great, but hopefully I’m working in football for another 15-20 years. I’m 44 now, so still quite young and still learning as a manager.

“But certainly at some point in my life I would love to do that.”

Tickets are on sale for ‘An evening with Brendan Rodgers’ at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Wednesday, November 1.

The event, hosted by Eamonn Holmes, will celebrate the launch of the Celtic manager’s official autobiography ‘Brendan Rodgers: The Road to Paradise’. Tickets, priced at £15, can be purchased from Belfast’s official Celtic store, via the Waterfront box office or by visiting https://etickets.waterfront.co.uk

At Rodgers’s request, Celtic FC has made donations to the Northern Ireland Hospice and Children’s Hospices across Scotland (CHAS) in relation to the publication of this book and a further donation will be made by the club to each charity for every copy of the book sold.

Celtic FC Foundation, the charitable arm of the club, will also benefit from a donation.

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