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04th May 2017

Brendan Rodgers has compared a Celtic player to N’Golo Kante

In fairness though, he has a point

Robert Redmond

Brendan Rodgers is a very good coach.

He helped get Swansea City promoted to the Premier League, and kept them up playing a possession based style of football not associated with top flight English teams.

He then almost won the league with Liverpool, before it went wrong following Luis Suarez’s departure.

The Northern Irishman is now Celtic coach and has overseen their best season for over a decade. The Scottish champions are unbeaten in the league and on course for a domestic treble. They performed admirably the Champions League, and play attractive football.

However, there’s also no denying that Rodgers also loves a soundbite.

He once said that: “My biggest mentor is myself because I’ve had to study and that’s been my biggest influence,” and: “It’s not just about training players, it’s about educating players. You train dogs.”

He also compared Joe Allen, a good player, to Xavi, one of the best players of his generation.

Sometimes Rodgers can set himself up for ridicule for his quotes, and it may, at first glance, appear like he has done so again.

The Celtic manager has compared Scott Brown, the captain of the Glasgow club, to N’Golo Kante, the Chelsea midfielder and PFA Player of the Year.

Before you laugh and accuse Rodgers of being delusional, there is some logic to his statements, made after Brown was excluded from the nominations for Scotland’s Player of the Year.

“I am very surprised,” the Celtic manager said about Brown’s omission.

“I look at Kante down south, a central midfield player who is not flash and does the dirty work — but does it to a real top level.

“For us up here, I think that’s what Scott Brown does. I don’t know how he was last year, but consistently over 50-odd games this season he has been a top performer.

“He has had one bad game, Hearts away (as Celtic clinched the league). Every other game he was eight out of ten, nine out of ten.

“You talk about influence and you judge people in the big pressure games. How many times have you seen the influence of Scott Brown?

“Minimum, he is worthy of a nomination. I respect you can only nominate a certain number, but this is a guy whose level has been unbelievable throughout the season.”

Rodgers is essentially saying that Brown is to Celtic what Kante is to Chelsea – an ever-present in central midfield, who wins the ball and performs to a consistent level.

And if Kante’s performances for the London side can be recognised by his peers, then he is surprised that the same thing hasn’t happened for Brown.

He has a point. If Rodgers was saying Brown is as good as Kante, then most would rightly take issue with it.