Brendan Rodgers ‘could quit if Celtic crash out of Champions League’

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Brendan Rodgers could leave Celtic if the club fails to qualify for this season’s Champions League, talkSPORT host and Sky Sports presenter Jim White has claimed.

The Hoops face AEK Athens tonight in Greece with the tie balanced at 1-1 from the first leg at Parkhead, with the winners facing a Champions League play-off against either Malmo or Videoton.

Brendan Rodgers told his squad that he wasn't leaving - but Jim White thinks otherwise. Picture: SNS Group

Brendan Rodgers told his squad that he wasn't leaving - but Jim White thinks otherwise. Picture: SNS Group

If Celtic lose they will drop into the play-offs for the Europa League group stages, but White reckons failure to progress in Europe’s premier football competition will prompt Rodgers to start weighing up his future.

White said: “Brendan Rodgers’ name was being mentioned down here in England in terms of Arsenal, Everton and Leicester City.

“But he chose to say with the club he professes to love - and he does love Celtic, I know that.

“But if Celtic go out, what happens then? Celtic have got to enjoy Champions League football deep into the tournament. The time has come.

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“It’s not good enough for a club the size of Celtic to go out of the Champions League this early, in mid-August.”

Describing Celtic as a huge club with a global support, White added: “The support is enormous and that’s why Rodgers took the job.

“But he is a very ambitious man and if Celtic were to go out now I think he would feel, ‘I need to win something huge in football to show that I have been a top coach’.

“When he looks back at his career he’s got to win something huge and with all his ambition, I think he will think that maybe if it doesn’t happen at Celtic it might happen elsewhere.”

White’s comments come despite Rodgers telling his squad that he has no plans to quit the club.

Speaking to the Herald, the Northern Irishman revealed he had reassured his players that he was going nowhere.

“I spoke to the players just to stabilise them a little bit,” Rodgers said. “I think that despite the noise it’s important that the players understand the real story.

“There was never once that I said that I was quitting Celtic. And there was never once that I said that I’d given an ultimatum to the board. What I said was we wanted the squad to be stronger.

“So collectively, in terms of spirit, we’re fine.”