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Monday 18 December 2017

'Tierney's Scot the lot' says Rodgers

Celtic boss backs full-back to be international centurion

(l-r) Celtic defender Kieran Kierney and his manager Brendan Rodgers
(l-r) Celtic defender Kieran Kierney and his manager Brendan Rodgers

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes the next Scotland manager will get the "maximum" out of Kieran Tierney as a left-back.

The 20-year-old played right-back for former national team boss Gordon Strachan towards the end of the failed World Cup qualification campaign and interim boss Malky Mackay utilised the Hoops defender as a left-sided centre-back for the friendly defeat against Holland last week.

It is understood that the Scottish Football Association has sounded out its Northern Irish counterparts about taking boss Michael O'Neill. 

Position

Rodgers stressed that the next Hampden incumbent, whoever he is, will see the best of Tierney, named Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month for October, in his natural position.

The Northern Irishman said: "His best position is left-back and if he plays left-back for Scotland then that's where they will gain the maximum out of a super-talented young player.

"He has that adaptability to play in different positions. We play a number of different systems here. He has played as a left-sided centre-half, left side of a three, but you see his threat when he plays as a full-back or a wide player in a 3-4-3, how effective he is.

"He is blessed with a wonderful temperament as a young player. "He is getting better, stronger and working on areas of his game that he knows needs improving. 

"He is one of those players that he will play wherever the manager wants him to play.

"But for Scotland to get the very best out of him, then he is better suited to that one where he can push forward and create and score goals."

Tierney, who said of his award, "It is my first one, I am delighted with it and couldn't have done it without the boys" captained the Scots for the first time in his ninth appearance in the 1-0 defeat by the Dutch. 

Rodgers, preparing for the trip to Ross County tomorrow  The former Swansea and Liverpool boss said: "It typifies his growth and development that at 20 years of age, how he handled the captaincy.

"I have seen him mature as a young man in the 17 months I have been here, he is a wonderful ambassador for Scottish football and he could be around for many years.

"So his first goal I am sure will be 50 caps, that's the goal for a lot of international players and see where they go from there. If he stays injury-free and his availability is there... I think Kenny (Dalglish, 102) is the only one with over 100 caps so there is a long way to go for him but he has a big future ahead."

Meanwhile, the Parkhead club have announced that 36-yeart-old goalkeeper Dorus de Vries has signed a contract extension until the summer of 2019.

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