McLeish Exclusive: Hardly-seen, technically brill Celtic player must get extended run
Alex McLeish has urged Neil Lennon to hand Tom Rogic a run of games in the Celtic starting XI to ensure he keeps he remains at the top of his game.
The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested the 27-year-old needs to play regularly to keep his “sharpness” and “edge”.
The Australia international sat out the Hoops’ opening eight league fixtures but has since featured in four successive Premiership games, with two starts under his belt.
Rogic managed to play just 22 times across all competitions last season as a knee injury limited his availability under Neil Lennon.
With the attacking midfielder now closing in on full fitness, McLeish has insisted he must be given a run of games to get back to full speed and deliver the performances expected of him.
Asked if Rogic needed regular game time to get back to his best, McLeish told Football Insider: “That’s a great point, he looks like that kind of player where if he misses a bunch of games then he’s got to work with the physio to get sharpened up and get his edge back.
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“That was one of the things I relied on as a footballer because I always felt that if I wasn’t training I lost that bit of sharpness. I read the game quite well and positioned myself well but to make sure I wasn’t going to be battered by the speed merchants.
“Sometimes if you go into a game and you’re feeling a bit kind of sluggish, you’re badly punished and you don’t look the player that people would expect you to be.
“He’s got a lot of subtle movements that just when you think he’s gonna lose the ball he somehow manages to show good feet. He gets around defenders, when you think he’s taken it too far and then he gets another touch with his other foot.
“He’s got a great technique and he’s a very underrated player, although two years ago, I was rating him very highly but then I think over the last couple years we’ve not seen much of him. The fact he’s come in and did what he’s done, there’s a lot of life in Tom Rogic.”
In other Celtic news, two players have caused Lennon a “big problem”, according to former striker.