DAMIEN DUFF insists Brendan Rodgers is one of the best managers in the world and hopes his affection for Celtic will keep him at the club.

The former Republic of Ireland forward has joined his boyhood idols as reserve team coach, as CQN reported at the end of November.

Duff is aware the Hoops boss has been linked with posts in the English Premier League and China and only yesterday was named as a possible successor to under-pressure Claude Puel at Leicester City.

But Duff is adamant Rodgers’ lifelong affinity with the Glasgow club could sway him into remaining for years to come.

The 39-year-old Dubliner said: “Brendan’s an amazing manager. I think the club are lucky to have him and long may he stay.

“I have just blown in here, but when I speak to him he seems so happy.

“That was the one thing we would chat about all those years ago when we were together at Chelsea – how much we loved Celtic. It’s his dream club, as well.”

Duff came through the ranks at Blackburn Rovers before clinching a move to Stamford Bridge in 2003 where he first encountered Rodgers.

He said: “Brendan was at Chelsea leading the academy when I was there.

“Jose Mourinho always took a shine to the gaffer back then and he’d be flitting in and around the first team.

“Jose loved the Irish and I would see him every day. I learned a lot from Brendan back then when he helped out with the first team.

“Now I am back around him again – annoying him!”

Duff is out to make an impact with the rising stars at Parkhead after quitting a coaching role at Shamrock Rovers to move to Scotland.

Capped 100 times by his country, he has played in teams managed by the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson as well as Mourinho.

Duff added: “I’ve been spoiled during my career with gaffers I have worked under.

“I’m only a baby in coaching terms, so it’s a massive road ahead, but I am going to embrace it.”

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