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RODGERS’ HOPES FOR WORLD CUP TRIO

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BRENDAN RODGERS has indicated World Cup trio Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Tom Rogic could all play key roles for Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers against AEK Athens.

The stars of Belgium, Sweden and Australia have yet to start a game this season after their extended breaks following their exploits for their nations in Russia in the summer.

Rodgers said: “Dedryck looks great. He looks physically strong, but it is about managing that. Mikael has been back in for a few weeks.

“Tom’s training well and it’s a case of dipping him in. It would be ludicrous to have him in for a week and expect him to challenge.

“It is that period where you are trying to win important games, but you have to be mindful that you have to get the guys in your squad up to some sort of match speed.

“That is the balance between the league games now and the Champions League games, to try and maximise what we can get out of them all.

“You have to use common sense. As much as we’re in competition phase early, we need the players for a season.”

Right-back Lustig and midfielder Rogic have made substitute appearances, but central defender Boyata has yet to kick a ball this term.

Celtic, who kick off their bid for an eighth successive Premiership crown against Livingston tomorrow, take on the Greek champions in the first leg at Parkhead on Wednesday with the return in Athens the following Tuesday.

 
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