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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: LENNON v RODGERS FOR WONDERKID, COMEBACK? BIG ECK IN NO RUSH, McKENNA’S DONS PLANS, DODOO’S ‘DIG’ AT GERRARD

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NEIL LENNON is keeping tabs on Northern Ireland wonderboy Charlie Allen who will celebrate his 16th birthday next month.

And the Hoops boss could go head to head with his Parkhead predecessor Brendan Rodgers in pursuit of the much sought-after youth international forward who has already played as a substitute for champions Linfield in a 1-1 draw at Coleraine last season.

Allen was involved in pre-season friendlies and featured against Motherwell and St Johnstone. He was also included in the 25-man squad for the club’s Champions League qualifiers against Rosenborg, but failed to get on the subs’ bench during either leg of the 6-0 aggregate defeat.

Rodgers’ Leicester City are just one of many Premier League sides watching the progress of the teenager with Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs also mentioned.

Celtic lead the way in Scotland with Steven Gerrard also said to be aware of Allen’s qualities.

Linfield manager David Healy, the former Northern Ireland international striker, had a spell at Ibrox in 2011/12.

ALEX McLEISH admits he hasn’t been tempted into a comeback, despite worldwide interest.

The 60-year-old much-travelled manager has been out of work since being sacked by Scotland in April following the disastrous Euro 2020 opener against Kazakhstan when his team crashed to a 3-0 defeat.

Big Eck was still involved when the Scots beat San Marino 2-0 in the next group game, but was axed shortly afterwards with Steve Clarke taking over.

The ex-Rangers gaffer was back in the Ibrox dug-out at the weekend to manage a team of Light Blues legends in a charity game against Liverpool.

But the former Scotland international centre-half insisted he is in no rush to get back into management at the moment.

McLeish, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I’ve had two or three approaches from different countries and continents — and from England, as well.

“But I’m taking a break, I’m not committing myself to anything just now.”

SCOTT McKENNA is poised to come back for Aberdeen after being out for five weeks with a hamstring injury.

The Scotland international defender wants to focus on the season ahead following a summer of disruption when he demanded a transfer while bids from Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers were knocked back by the club.

McKenna admitted he is still eager to sample top-flight football across the border, but acknowledged he may have to go the route taken by his former Dons team-mate Kenny McLean, who switched to Norwich, and ex-Hibs midfielder John McGinn, snapped up by Aston Villa, and move to a Championship side before looking to make the next step.

The 22-year-old centre-half, speaking to Mailsport, admitted: “Whenever I’ve gone away with the national team, my form for Aberdeen when I get back is always pretty decent.

“It’s because of the standard of training with Scotland and that’s no disrespect to playing in the SPFL.

“I’m not sure the jump from Aberdeen to Premier League will happen for me.

“So, I look at what Kenny has done, McGinn is another, who went to the Championship, got success and won promotion. It’s never a case of moving straight to the top level.

“At Aberdeen right now, I’ve got to prove to people in England that I’m good enough for them to take a chance on me and give me that opportunity at some point.

“The challenge for me is to stay at the level where there’s always interest in me.

“There have been bids, but I can’t sit here and think it’ll just happen for me.

“It’s up to me to make sure I’m playing well because there will be another 19 or 20 year old coming through, the same way I did, and they’ll be the guy in demand.

“I need to prove that I’m worth it. And, hopefully, over time, that will be good for me and Aberdeen.”

JOE DODOO, the striker who flopped at Rangers, has hinted Steven Gerrard might have been the wrong manager for him at Ibrox.

The 24-year-old frontman was released by the Liverpool legend in the summer before being snapped up by Bolton.

Dodoo had loan spells at Charlton and Blackpool after being signed from Leicester City in July 2016 by the-then gaffer Mark Warburton.
The Ghanian scored just five goals in his 27 appearances for the club and didn’t play a solitary game after Gerrard’s arrival.

Dodoo, speaking to the local media, said: “Bolton are a big club and I don’t see this as any sort of step down.

“It’s easy to ignore what goes on behind closed doors, but it’s my career and it’s not easy when you are not playing games or you haven’t got the right manager or the right team.

“I’d rather be somewhere that I can achieve something with people who want to make me achieve, an environment that I benefit from.

“I feel like I have that here at Bolton. I have enjoyed what I have seen so far and I want more.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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