By support

27th Dec, 2016 | 8:05am

Brendan Rodgers: This Celtic player is the perfect role model

By Matt Farr

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes veteran defender Kolo Toure is the perfect role model for his young stars.

Rodgers interrupted his Under-20 squad at lunch to show them Toure, hard at work in the gym after training.

The Celtic boss wanted to use the 35-year-old as an example to show his youngsters what hard work can do, and what it takes to reach and stay at the top.

Speaking to the Daily Record, he praised Toure’s commitment: “I apologised for interrupting their lunch, but I said: ‘Sorry guys, listen, come with me a second,'” he said.

“I took them into the gym and who was in there doing his activation, doing his stretching, doing his work?

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Kolo Toure. He’s 35. He could have been away home but, a few hours after he’d finished training, he was in the gym on his own, stretching.

“That’s what you need to do to be a top player. Body fat, body mass, looking after yourself, being a professional. It doesn’t start when you arrive at the training ground, it starts with your first waking moment.

“Then when you drive out, it doesn’t end. It’s a lifestyle. The guys that play on until they’re 35 are the ones that have been looking after their body.

“If you have a brain to add to your brawn then you’ll have a chance.”

Toure has played for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, winning two Premier League titles and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as finishing runner-up in the 2005-06 Champions League.

With Celtic cruising 14 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, still with a game in hand over second-placed Rangers, Toure looks set to snap up yet another domestic title.

He has made 13 appearances for Celtic in all competitions since arriving at the club on a free transfer at the start of the campaign. However, a string of concerning performances has left the media questioning his ability, hinting that Toure is far from the player he once was.

The former Ivory Coast international has not featured for Celtic since the victory over Motherwell on December 3.

In other Celtic news, Rodgers must start James Forrest against Rangers on Saturday.