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‘SCOTT B SO LIKE STEVIE G,’ RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS has revealed Celtic skipper Scott Brown reminds him so much of his ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The 31-year-old midfielder will lead the Hoops into tonight’s home Champions League qualifier against Astana and the Parkhead gaffer admitted: “Scott has really impressed me tactically.

“He has shown elements of his game that I probably didn’t think he had, to be honest. My perception of him was obviously from afar.

“The kid has been a runner all his life, ever since he broke into the Hibs team at 17. Then I came up against him in a friendly or two and could see he had a real aggressive streak, which I love.

“But my perception was based on only seeing him in a few big games for Celtic and Scotland. Now I’m working with him, I can see he is in great shape.

“Physically, he looks really good. He is healthy in terms of his diet and mentality. Tactically, the concepts in the game I have asked him to do, and I’ve looked at him in a couple of positions, he has surprised me how quickly he has picked it up.

“Sometimes players get labelled quickly, such as being athletic and then people just focus on his running.

“But can you develop on the tactical side of the game? From what we have given them so far, which has been a lot, Scott is tactically very astute.

“He probes into spaces, fills gaps both with and without the ball and his passing is good. Of course, like any player, it could be better, but he can play it long, short or split the game.

“He is great in pressing and can really drive the team, but then he has the calmness to make the first pass when he wins it.

“I also have to say he is a wonderful guy. He has an old-school mentality where he leads the team and supports the manager in everything you do.

“Maybe it has refreshed him, I hope it has, in terms of everything we are trying to give him.

“But at 31, he can move into an exciting part of his career where, tactically, he has a better knowledge of the game where he can perform to another level.”

Rodgers added: “Scott’s ambition is for the club, not for himself. That’s what you find in these types of players, Scott and Steven, they are not selfish.

“Everything they do is based around what’s best for the team and they put themselves secondary to that.

“Steven, like Scott, was a wonderful ambassador for his club. In the changing room, they are very strong, they are able to lead and I always say that is key for the manager.

“It’s not what the players do when they are with you, it’s what they do when they are not with you.

“You need your lieutenants in there who can control that and certainly he is one of them.”

 
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