Celtic captain Scott Brown has expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of playing more tactically flexible football under new manager Brendan Rodgers.
Ronny Deila, who was replaced by Rodgers last month, received criticism for his almost relentless adherence to a 4-2-3-1 system during his two years in charge of the Scottish champions.
Former Swansea City and Liverpool manager Rodgers has earned a reputation for having a more adaptable approach to how he sets up his teams, something which he stressed to Brown during his first meeting with the midfielder.
The Scotland captain was invited to Rodgers’ home in London earlier this month to discuss his vision for the coming season and the 30-year-old immediately formed a positive impression of his new boss.
“It’s going to be good for us because he’s going to chop and change formations and we’re not just going to be one-dimensional so that will be something to keep everyone on their toes,” said Brown.
“We sat down and chatted for a good couple of hours about the past and the future and what we’re looking to do, and he was spot-on with everything.
“It’s going to be exciting times. His ideas and philosophy are great and it’s going to help me and a lot of the lads in the changing room. I’m looking forward to it.
“He spoke about a lot of things, such as responsibilities, talking on and off the park, bringing the lads as close together as possible, making sure we have a good team morale and that we work hard on the park.
“The main thing is to get as fit as soon as possible for the Champions League qualifiers. We need to try to get through them to reach the Champions League as that is where this club deserves to be and hopefully we will be there this season.” Speaking to Celtic TV, Brown echoed the widely enthusiastic response to Rodgers’ appointment which saw around 13,000 fans gather at Parkhead for his formal unveiling as manager.
“It’s a huge name for everyone and everyone will learn a lot from him and that’s what we wanted,” added Brown.
“Peter Lawwell and the club have done really well to get him on board. He’s managed huge clubs and almost won the league with Liverpool a couple of seasons back. To have 13,000 fans come to the stadium to see him is something some clubs don’t even get on matchdays and it shows how well-respected he is by the Celtic fans.”
Brown is also revitalised physically ahead of the new campaign for which the focus is firmly on Celtic’s opening Champions League qualifier on 12 or 13 July.
He struggled to find his optimum form last season when he was significantly hampered by injuries. But, after sitting out the end of the domestic campaign and also missing Scotland’s matches against Italy and France, Brown is suitably refreshed.
“It was both my hamstrings and I also got bone bruising against Hearts in my final game so I was falling to bits towards the end of the season,” he added. “The rest is always good and it’s the longest I’ve had since coming to Celtic and it was definitely needed.
“I have had a few days off which were good and I have just been trying to get over my injuries and making sure they are okay for the start of pre-season. I started back running the other day there and I feel okay so hopefully I can kick on now. I feel good and it’s all about getting a touch of the ball now and getting back in with the lads, playing games and getting my fitness going.”