'I don't give up places for the sake of it': Rodgers issues firm message to Celtic players
By Matt Farr
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers insists his young stars must fight hard to earn themselves a place in his first team.
Rodgers has hinted he could be set to make changes to his starting eleven in the coming weeks, having already secured the Scottish Premiership title with games to spare.
The changes could see several of the club’s fringe players and youngsters be handed opportunities to impress in the first-team squad, but Rodgers has issued a firm message to his players ahead of any potential change.
As quoted by the club’s official Twitter account on Thursday afternoon, he revealed that he will not be giving away places ‘just for the sake of it’, and urged his youngsters to ‘fight for their place’ in the team.
He said: “Between now and the end of the campaign I’ll look at some of the fringe players, but I don’t give up places just for the sake of it.
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“If a young player comes in, he has to earn his place in the team, they need to fight for their place.”
????BR: If a young player comes in, he has to earn his place in the team, they need to fight for their place.
— Celtic Football Club (@celticfc) April 13, 2017
Celtic’s young stars should not be afraid of Rodgers’ message, however, and instead should look at the success of the first team’s current pool of young talent as a reason to relish the challenge.
The likes of Kieran Tierney, Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele have each proven to be key players within the first team setup this season, despite their tender age and relative inexperience.
Rodgers is no stranger to handing opportunities to young players, with Under 20’s regular Calvin Miller also having been handed a Scottish Premiership appearance earlier in the season.
But it also bodes well for fringe players like Liam Henderson, Callum McGregor, and Gary Mackay-Steven, who have struggled to earn regular roles in the first team.
Celtic are next in action against Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.