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‘HANDS OFF JOZO,’ HOOPS BOSS TELLS TORINO

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BRENDAN RODGERS has told Torino that Celtic will not be selling central defender Jozo Simunovic.

The Croat came close to signing for the Serie A outfit during the summer only to fail to agree terms.

However, reports indicate the Italian outfit are preparing another raid on the cultured back-four operator when the transfer window opens next month.
Simunovic, who is dovetailing excellently with Dane Erik Sviatchenko in the heart of the Hoops rearguard, has helped the team keep nine clean sheets, including last night’s 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead.

Rodgers clearly sees the smooth centre-half as a key figure in his plans and warned: “I think they have probably seen how well he’s been doing.

“He’s only a boy really at 22 years of age and developing very, very well. He’s got all the attributes and still has improvements to make, of course.
“But if you’re a top club you would want someone like him.

“He’s very much a part of what we’re building here.”

Rodgers looked back at the win over a hard-working Jags side at a rain-lashed east end of Glasgow and added: “That was the 41st game we’ve had which is a phenomenal amount.

“To not slip up domestically really shows a real persistence and resistance that’s in the team and energy to keep going.

“We play in a way that has a systematic approach. If one players comes in he understands his function in the team.

“There’s no way I can play all the players in every game. They have international games on top of that, so you just can’t do it.

“At times, you’re going to use a wee bit of fluency, but you see other characteristics in the team. There’s spells of great football, great possession, creating chances.

“We should have scored more goals to make it calmer, but still having that mentality to win is very, very important.”

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