BRENDAN RODGERS reckons that Tom Rogic is so stylish a footballer that he could wear a tuxedo while playing.
The manager knows that the Australian talisman is going to have to be at his very best tonight against the crack German outfit RB Leipzig if Celtic are to get the win that they need to maintain an interest in this Europa League group.
“Tom gives the team a different dynamic in terms of how he plays,” Rodgers told the media yesterday.
The Celtic manager was delighted when he was able to convince the player to commit his long term future to Celtic back in May.
“I always think with Tom is that he doesn’t move so much, which actually HELPS. That’s because he can find space.
“The dynamics of your team are always important, especially when you play three or four in midfield.
“Tom has this incredible quality of standing still and knows where to stand. That’s what he does. He conserves his energy well, so that when he doesn’t have the ball he can press the game.
“Like I say, when he takes the ball he’s normally receiving it to go forward.He’s a big big talent and a very important player. He’s got some great qualities.
“Tom’s so cool and calm — and I think he could play in a tuxedo during the game because he just moves so well. He’s fantastic.
“The game that stands out for me with Tom in Europe is Manchester City away. His ability to take the ball, his quality and he was in rhythm at that point.
“Tom’s got great tools that can help us as a team. And he’s that creative player you need at the level that can make the difference for us.
“You talk to other managers after games and they normally highlight Tom. The players themselves and other players know the problems he causes. He’s got an in-built brain for football; how to receive the ball, the space.
“You just need to put him into a structure and a framework to get the ball and into areas where he can hurt teams. He’s very elusive.
“He can last a game. Makes no bones about it. There are just moments in games when you might be trying to shore it up and you just want to keep the energy in the team,” Rodgers continued.
“You change it slightly. Or you are trying to conserve his energy for another game. If you have comfort in a game, you can take him off.
“Maybe it was something before that was labelled at him, but he can last a game no problem. Tom’s got good fitness.
“We’ve been managing some issues with him around certain aspects.
“But he’s a fantastic player and what’s been great to see is his personality grow in these last few years to really impose himself in games.
“He’s not frightened to be the big player.
“Evidence shows you that. It’s great to see that he puts himself into these big occasions and wants to perform.”
Also on The Celtic Star today…
Jim Craig – On this day, we signed the greatest ever Celtic star…See HERE.