By Tom Blackburn
James Forrest has revealed Brendan Rodgers played a huge part in persuading him to sign a new three-year deal.
The 25-year-old winger signed a new Celtic contract on Wednesday that keeps him at the club until 2019 to end doubts about his future.
The Scotland international had less than six months remaining on his previous deal, which had made him available to talk to non-Scottish clubs for free under the Bosman ruling.
Forrest revealed it was the arrival of Rodgers and one subsequent phone call that gavee him the confidence to resign with the club.
“We were due back in a couple of weeks’ time – I was here when I got the call (from Rodgers),” he recalled, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “He said he’d seen me play before and liked the way I’d played.
“It was obviously good to hear (him say that) as I knew I’d only six months left on my contract. He just said that pre-season was going to be hard so to come back in good shape and to show him what I had.
“Basically it was a clean slate so I knew I was going to get my chance to at least show what I could do. If it didn’t work out it didn’t work out. But I’m glad I’m staying here. That’s what I was wanting to do.
“As soon as I came back I said I wanted to stay and I’m glad that six or seven weeks on we’ve got it done.”
Despite interest from down south, most notably Championship side Blackburn Rovers, Forrest remained as part of the Hoops’ squad and last weekend scored the first league goal of Rodgers tenure before signing the contract.
The 25-year-old’s U-turn came after he had rejected a new contract offer from former manager Ronny Deila at the end of last season.
The Scotland international became disillusioned at Celtic Park last season after complaining over his lack of playing time, with 15 of his 33 appearances coming as a substitute and completing 90 minutes just once which led to the rejected contract offer.
Under Rodgers, Forrest has played in all five of Celtic’s games this season, and has reignited his love for Celtic since the former Liverpool manager took control.
In other Celtic news, a Liverpool academy graduate is poised for a loan move away from the club.