By Matt Farr
Former Celtic striker Darren Jackson believes English clubs will find it difficult not to have noticed Leigh Griffiths after his international heroics earlier this month.
Griffiths stole the headlines with two stunning free-kicks for Scotland during their World Cup qualifying draw against England less than fortnight ago, following a successful season with Celtic.
The 26-year-old scored 18 goals from 38 appearances in all competitions as Celtic cruised to a domestic treble during the 2016-17 campaign, despite playing second-fiddle to Moussa Dembele.
His impressive form for club and country has reportedly alerted a number of Premier League sides, with the Mirror claiming that both Newcastle and West Brom were showing a keen interest.
Jackson, who has also previously served as Griffiths’ agent, believes that more clubs south of the border will now be alerted to his red hot form and goalscoring profile, but added that the player would prefer to stay at Celtic.
He told the Evening Times: “Maybe people down south, even in the way commentators such as Gary Neville were speaking about him, maybe sit up and take notice.
“However, if the wee man is in the Celtic team, then I don’t think he wants to be anywhere else. I don’t think there will be any talk about Leigh leaving.
“Brendan Rodgers knows the score. You need at least two or three good strikers. He’s got two exceptional ones there, and I think he’ll be desperate to keep them.”
Rodgers swiftly made a move to bring Dembele to the Scottish club following his appointment as manager last summer, and the 20-year-old went on to score 32 times in his debut season.
The former Liverpool chief showed a preference towards the French youngster rather than Griffiths as Celtic’s lone centre-forward, although he tried to accommodate the two in the same line-up.
But the goalscoring duo struggled to operate together in the same system, and coupled with criticism from the manager of Griffiths’ attitude and fitness, it appeared as though Rodgers was losing patience with him.
However, Jackson does not believe that Griffiths will quit Celtic this summer so long as he is being given regular opportunities in the first-team, despite growing reported interest in his services.