The players who could benefit most from Brendan Rodgers arrival

Brendan Rodgers’ imminent arrival at Celtic Park has thrown up more questions than it has answers. The club has gone from what was a comfortable position under Ange Postecoglou and looking to build for the future, to a period of managerless uncertainty.  Now, however, it looks like Brendan Rodgers will be the man chosen to take over from the Aussie and take up the task of revitalising the club.

One of the major questions that has come up since Ange’s departure is how the squad will react to a different manager. The Australian’s style of play was so unique and most of the players who have played and succeeded at Celtic under his management were handpicked for his system.

Maintaining a semblance of continuity in playing style and winning mentality is therefore of major importance when choosing Celtic’s next managerial appointment. During his first spell at the club, Brendan Rodgers showed that he can produce sides that play an entertaining style that gets results.

Rodgers Effect

He has also shown that he has the ability to revitalise a stalling career; a prime example of this is the Northern Irishman’s effect on Scott Brown.  Rodgers altered his captain’s playing style in such a way that was able to extend Brown’s career by a good season or two and help him to add a quadruple treble to his winner’s medal collection.

Rodgers also had a positive effect on the careers of Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong.  It was Rodgers’ guidance that helped turn McGregor into the consistency machine that we know today and turned Armstrong into a Premier League quality player and a nailed-on Scotland internationalist.

What Rodgers will do with the current crop of players is an interesting prospect. Will players who thrived under Ange regress or will others step up and improve much like Armstrong and McGregor? We looked at several players who could benefit from the arrival of Rodgers and players who may regress.

Oh Hyeon-Gyu: Could Benefit

Oh may not have seen as many minutes as he would have hoped for so far at Celtic, but that would be due to the incredible form of Celtic’s star man, Kyogo Furuhashi. However, Brendan Rodgers may be the man to give the Korean some more minutes and help him realise his potential.

Rodgers is not afraid from turning his eye away from a free-scoring, in-form striker. We must not forget that when the former Leicester coach first joined Celtic back in 2016, he immediately replaced Leigh Griffiths, who was just off the back of a 40-goal season, with Moussa Dembele.

Oh has similar qualities that Brendan liked in Dembele, as well as Odsonne Edouard, in that they were both technically brilliant and had the strength to match that technical ability. Oh fits the mould of a striker Rodgers likes and could be a wildcard option to excel under new management.

Daizen Maeda: Ange’s Man

If Angeball was a footballer it would be Daizen Maeda. The Japanese forward’s raw pace and desire made him a standout in Postecoglou’s squad and one of the Aussie’s most trusted players, as seen by the fact that Ange brought Maeda over from Yokohama F Marinos.

Maeda also kept Liel Abada out of the starting 11, a decision that created many discussions given how good both players are. Liel Abada may be a better technical player, and Rodgers will see that when analysing the squad. As such, Maeda’ starting position may be lost with Postecoglou joining Spurs, but this depends on whether Liel Abada stays at the club or not.


Matt O’Riley: A Rodgers’ Player

As previously mentioned. Brendan Rodgers improves players, particularly in the midfield. Matt O’Riley, who won Celtic’s young player of the year award, has an incredibly high ceiling and has already been linked to clubs in the English Premier League and German Bundesliga.

Clubs are taking notice of the Dane’s talent and if Brendan Rodgers can convince O’Riley to stay at the club a little bit longer he could mould him into an infinitely better player, just like he did with Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong.

Greg Taylor: Back to old ways

Taylor was one of the players who bought into Ange Postecoglou’s philosophy and style of play in the early stages.  Along with Tony Ralston, Taylor played a big part in getting the fans on the Aussie’s side as they saw the promising signs on show from his team.

Ange made Greg Taylor a better player. He took him from someone who had been written off and declared not good enough to a player of the season candidate. It was the unique style of Ange’s inverted full-backs that Taylor excelled at, moving into more central positions and helping contribute to the build-up as opposed to getting to the by-line and fizzing a ball across the goal.

If Rodgers comes in and reverts back to a more traditional full-back style, it will be interesting to see if Taylor still plays to the high bar he has set over the past two seasons or if he reverts back to his old self.

With Rodgers’ re-appointment expected over the coming days, we may not have long to wait to see what his plans for the squad are.

James McKenzie

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