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‘ANTON’S GOT TALENT,’ SAYS HIS OLD MAN

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WEDNESDAY turned out to be a pretty special day for Brendan Rodgers. That is the dad, not the manager of Celtic.

His son Anton had joined up, on his father’s invitation, with the Celtic party that travelled to Austria for the Invincible Treble Winning Champions’ pre-season tour. He had been released by Swindon at the end of last season and his old man was anxious that he’d be in the best possible physical shape as he looks for a new club down south for the new season.
 
Anton, as fate would have it, managed to get a game in the second half, as Celtic had a few niggling injuries to contend with and he certainly did very well.
This would have been a pretty special moment for Brendan Rodgers the dad. Surprisingly Brendan Rodgers the manager came in for some criticism on social media from Celtic fans. Football supporters’ memories seem to be getting shorter and shorter with each passing season.
One though pointed out that if Brendan can deliver another treble this season then he doesn’t care if he plays his new wife in midfield!
Rodgers senior had never managed a team featuring his son before Wednesday so it will be one for the family albums.
“As you can imagine, it was a wee bit nervy for him as he came here to train and all of a sudden he was playing in a Celtic pre-season friendly,” Rodgers revealed yesterday.
“But he’s played around 100-odd league games so he’s used to playing. When we were putting together the teams we thought he could play so there was no special treatment. Playing with good players helped him too.”
On the concerns raised by some supporters about Anton joining the Tour, the Celtic manager was unconcerned to say the least.
“I’m not worried. I’m not the first manager in the world who has had a son who played football. It’s more important to me that I have a son, that the father and son relationship is there.

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“I spend my life trying to help staff, helping players, helping them financially and making their lives better. I probably see my son less than most. I see you guys more than him. I am in a position where I can help him.

“I have no worries on that score. It’s the first time I have ever worked with him. I have always been aware of that. He is the same as everyone else. He is here to work, to get himself fit.

“We’re very close and he sees the game how I see the game. For a young guy he’s got talent. He wants to play forward passes and open up the game and he’s comfortable.”

And anyone who watched the game will tell you that Anton actually put in a decent performance for his old man, however taking it any further as far as Celtic is concerned.

“I’ve always wanted to maintain a father son relationship,” said Anton’s dad. “I’m not always a nice guy as a manager. That’s the first time he’s played for me.

“He was out of contract and, as a demanding father, I said to him ‘don’t be on holiday too long’. If he’s going to go in somewhere in July he has to be working before then.

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“I said to him to come up with us and do a couple of weeks training and then he’ll be ready to go on to his next club with a decent level of fitness.

“There’s no use him lying on a beach somewhere. He has to work. The same rules apply across the board whether he’s my son or someone else.

“He’s a great kid with a brilliant football brain and he mixes well with others. There is no drama or issue with him. He can play football. He’ll move on from there. He knows clearly where he is at with us.”

And on any possible move for his son by Celtic, Rodgers cleared that one up.

“He has a son in Reading. He has got to be more down south I would think. Most of the English clubs don’t start till July and this is a chance for him to get fit with a brilliant bunch of guys here.”

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