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  • Manager: Inspirational Brown still has plenty of time at the top

    Manager: Inspirational Brown still has plenty of time at the top

    By: Mark Henderson on 19 May, 2017 15:59

  • BRENDAN Rodgers was delighted to see Scott Brown’s inspirational performances this season recognised today when the Celtic captain was named Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Year.

    The 31-year-old, who celebrated his 10th anniversary as a Hoops player earlier this week, has enjoyed one of his finest campaigns for the club.

    He has excelled for the champions in both domestic and European competition, performing with authority, assurance and composure – the latest being last night’s 5-0 Glasgow derby destruction of Partick Thistle.

    And his leadership and driving displays have been a huge factor in Celtic’s domestic dominance and incredible consistency over the past 12 months

    “It’s thoroughly deserved,” said the manager. “He has been inspirational this year. I can’t fault him in any aspect of his performance levels. As a manager it’s very important you have that chemistry between you and your captain, and it was pretty clear early on when I met him that he was top-class in his outlook and what he wanted to achieve. From first meeting him, right the way through this season he hasn’t let up.

    “Importantly, for me, his performance levels on the field have been absolutely sensational, in how he has led the team and he has been a real catalyst on the football idea we have tried to impose on to the team.

    “Last night when I got home and watched the game again and saw the tactical positions he takes up in order to get himself on the ball, and the variety in which he can move freely into which creates space for himself.

    “In terms of the structure of the team, he presses with a real aggression. He doesn’t need to jump in. He anticipates and he blocks and he really closes people down, and that has been consistent through every level we have played, whether that’s been the league, the Scottish Cup, the League Cup or the Champions League – he has been top level.

    “Thankfully, someone has recognised the fantastic achievement he has had this year of playing to that level and, surprisingly, it was from you guys.”

    And the Hoops boss is confident Brown can continue to perform at the highest level for many years to come as he recalled a pre-season chat with the skipper after he had just taken the reins in Paradise.

    “I didn’t see him before but I had plenty of people telling me what he was like last season and he was probably just unfortunate with injuries and whatnot,” said the Irishman. “It’s about fostering the mindset in terms of being a top-level football, and in order for that you have to ensure everything about your life on and off the field is perfect as it can be.

    “So he readjusted his diet, took on board all the things we were looking impose in here in terms of preparation and that has then given him confidence. He naturally works hard anyway. He is a boy who will run all day for you.”

    “It was just guiding that and making sure it was consistent, the preparation so he could complete this season at a high level. I look at his body and his physical shape, and he is in great condition. He is fit and strong.

    “He was 31 at the time, and I said to him, ‘minimum, if you look after your body then you can get on to until you are 35 and maybe even as far as Gordon, who played until he was about 40’.

    “It wasn’t by accident that guys like Gordon Strachan and Gary McAlister played for that length of time because they have looked after their body over many years. Now at this stage, he recognises the football idea we are playing he is always going to have legs around him, but at this time he still has good energy, power and speed, and he is playing the game at the top level.”

    Brown could become one of a select group of Celtic captains to have skippered the Hoops to a domestic treble if the Bhoys overcome Aberdeen in next week’s Scottish Cup final.

    “It would be very deserving,” said the manager. “I have only known him this season and he has been remarkable really. He has never let-up any day. He has never looked to rest. I have given him a few little breaks through the season but he has never wanted them.

    “In training, he leads right from the front in his intensity and his quality, every single day. For a boy like that who has been here for 10 years now and to have won all the trophies he has, it would bring a great climax for him, and it would be very fitting of a captain of his quality to do that. “ 

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