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Brendan Rodgers delivers damning verdict on Celtic striker

By Matt Farr

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has told Leigh Griffiths he must work harder if he is to remain at the top level.

The 26-year-old striker has netted 13 goals from 26 appearances in all competitions this season, but has started just one of Celtic’s last five games because of injury.

Rodgers is looking to turn his Parkhead squad into a side capable of making an impact in Europe for next season and beyond, and insists that Griffiths is a player that could have an important role.

However, he admitted that the Scotland international must first prove himself, and work on improving his fitness, before he can reach the top.

He told the Daily Record: “Leigh has to work on every aspect of being a professional.

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“Talent is not enough. He’s a real good kid. A really good boy and I want to help him. If he can really focus in on outside of the football field he can be a consistent player for a number of years at the top level.

“If not, it might prove to be very difficult for him. He is a brilliant boy but you have to change because it is not by coincidence that he is injured consistently.”

Rodgers’ damning verdict of Griffiths’ fitness does come as little surprise, with the striker having missed a host of important games with injury over the last couple of seasons.

The former Hibernian striker sat out both Champions League group-stage games with Barcelona earlier in the season, as well as the trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, while he also missed the Old Firm derby clash with Rangers in September with a calf injury.

Meanwhile, he suffered a similar calf injury the season before, missing as many as four games.

His former Celtic boss Ronny Deila, who was replaced by Rodgers in the summer, had previously urged him to become a ’24-hour athlete’, and Rodgers’ latest outburst is along the same lines.

In other Celtic news, the club have braced themselves for a big-money offer from Chelsea for this player, but it will fall considerably short of their valuation.

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