By Kevin Phillips

20th Sep, 2021 | 8:45pm

Phillips 'surprised' as new details emerge on why Howe rejected Celtic offer

Kevin Phillips is ‘surprised’ to hear part of the reasoning for Eddie Howe rejecting Celtic was his interest in the Southampton job.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Sunderland and England striker admitted he expected the 43-year-old to succeed Neil Lennon at Parkhead earlier this year.

Howe was offered the vacant post at post earlier in the summer but he pulled out of talks in late May.

Football Insider understands (14th September) the ex-Bournemouth boss has his sights set on eventually replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton.

It is understood that Howe does not want to rush back into management while location will be a key factor in his next job.

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on the news, Phillips said:

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“I find it surprising that he is hanging on to the hope of getting his dream job from down the road from where he lives.

“Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing a good job under difficult circumstances there. They’ve lost two or three or their best players again. The Southampton job might not come up for a long time and then he could find himself out of work for one, two or three years.

“I was surprised he didn’t take the Celtic job. He could always resign if a better opportunity came along.

“In Howe’s defence, he needed a break from football. He managed Bournemouth for a long time and it is always good to refresh.”

In other news, Whelan drops Dele Alli claim after ‘incredible’ Celtic development on Sunday.