Brendan Rodgers: Celtic captain Scott Brown has earned Aussie payday

Brendan Rodgers believes Scott Brown has earned the right to seal a lucrative move to Australia as speculation over the Celtic skipper's future intensifies.

Celtic captain Scott Brown takes part in a training session. Picture: Craig Williamson

Celtic are at Easter Road tomorrow for a league clash against a Hibs side led by Neil Lennon, a Celtic
captain who went on to manage the club.

Current Parkhead boss Rodgers is confident Brown, pictured, can make the same step into the Parkhead dugout eventually – even if he does decide to continue his playing career on the other side of the world.

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Western Melbourne, a recently-formed franchise who have just had their application to join the A-League for 2019/20 accepted, are reported to want Brown as a marquee signing. It is thought they are prepared to offer him a three-year deal.

Brown, who has found it hard to break back into the Celtic side after injury due to Callum McGregor’s form, came on at half-time in Thursday night’s Europa League clash in an attempt to arrest RB Salzburg’s dominance.

The Austrians still ran out 2-1 winners but the champions qualified from their group courtesy of a late equaliser for Rosenborg at RB Leipzig.

The chance to claim another treble – the triple treble – as well as European football after Christmas means there is plenty to keep Brown at Celtic until the end of this 
season, when his contract expires after 12 trophy-laden years.

While Brown has been in talks with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell about a new contract, he is understood to be tempted by the thought of a new life in Australia.

Rodgers stressed he would not stand in his way if that is what he wishes to do at this stage of his career. That is the same stance Rodgers adopted when Chelsea tried to sign Craig Gordon two years ago.

Having been at Celtic so long and with nothing left to prove, Brown is in a slightly different position to the goalkeeper, who had just turned 33 when the English Premier League side made their approach.

“He (Brown) will be 34 at the end of this year… for some players, they can pick up a two or three-year deal at that stage on big money as well as an adventure for your family, so you certainly have to look at it and weigh it up,” said the Celtic manager.

“He has been an incredible servant for the club. But I think he has earned that time to make his choice.

“I have spelt out to him how important he is here but I have also given him an unbiased look at it. Football is a very short career. I said the same thing to Craig Gordon. We sat down and had a look when Chelsea were keen to take him for good money on offer: ‘OK, this is what you could get at Chelsea, this is what you have here…’ They are old enough these guys to make their own decisions but I can speak to them openly and from both sides really.”

When Rodgers first arrived at Celtic he advised Brown to focus on his own form rather than be side-tracked by coaching youngsters. But the midfielder has since returned to helping out on the coaching side with under-age teams at the club and is viewed by many as a potential future Celtic manager.

“He is a really influential figure in the changing room and, whatever happens in the future, there will always be a role back here at Celtic,” said Rodgers. “You never know, he might one day do what Lenny (Neil Lennon) did and captain the club for so long and then move into management, if he is mad enough!

“I took him out of that side of it when I came in to get him focused on playing,” added Rodgers. “He has leadership qualities and skills, absolutely. There is a lot of work that needs to go into it – in terms of coaching and organisation. And I think the next ten years is interesting from a managing perspective – he would have to deal with all that side, the self-interest of players and work with that. There are a lot of things involved now in coaching and management which are growing every year.

“But I do not think there is any doubt – it’s a route he wants to go down, and I am sure he will do very, very well.”