01 Jan Brendan Rodgers: Kids have to stop blaming everyone else if they don’t make the grade
BRENDAN RODGERS last night insisted there was a blame culture in Scottish football which is responsible for young players not making the grade.
The Celtic manager, in a stark interview, revealed his frustration at the way some academy players who have genuine talent do not dedicate themselves to their profession.
Rodgers is a huge advocate of giving youth their chance with recent debutant Calvin Miller a prime example.
But too many fall by the wayside and when asked if there was a cultural problem in Scotland, Rodgers said: “From the things I see and witness, there has definitely been that.
“The biggest thing is responsibility. I have spoken to enough players and they blame everyone else.
“They blame the coach, they blame never getting the chance. They don’t take responsibility. It’s everyone else’s fault. And this is what I have been very, very clear coming in here, with the kids at 16s, 17s, 18s, 19s, 20s.
“You have any opportunities here, with some of the best facilities in the country, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, you have every tool here in order to be the best player. You need to commit to it.
“We will have a plan for you to get into the first team, but the crown is on your head. You’re the king of you’re own destiny; you’re responsible for it. Stop taking short-cuts, stop blaming everyone else and get on with being an elite player.
Celtic have a good record of producing players, if not for the club then for elsewhere, and Rodgers does believe that talent does exist in the country.
It is simply a case of getting the best from them.
Rodgers said: “Listen, there are great players there. Every culture is different and from what I have seen here, Chris McCart (head of youth at Celtic) does a brilliant job with the academy, overseeing it.
“There are outstanding coaches here who are very diligent, very professional, they are working really well with the players, and they have creativity and are a great support to the players.
“What I see up here, from my short experience, is ensuring that they all understand what it actually takes to be an elite player.
“I have witnessed one or two up here with big talents but when it gets tough they go the other way. This is the key thing for Scottish football -understanding that if you want to be a Champions League player, or be the best you can be, your talent is not enough.
“You need to prepare in every facet of your life to be a player.
“There is talent here in Scotland, no question about that. There are players with ability. And they have every opportunity now to be a footballer .
“Are they going to take it? Or are they, when it gets a wee bit tough, look for the easy way? Do they eat the right things? Do they lead the life of a footballer? That is the main thing.”
Rodgers has always said that if a player is good enough then he will get his chance at Celtic.
But, again, he stressed it was up to the individual to understand what it takes to make the step-up.
Rodgers said: “The point is, they want to play for Celtic but before you can play for Celtic, you have to be able to train with Celtic If you’re never fit enough to train, how are you going to play?
“You have to be ready to train and one you’re training, then you have a chance. So, it’s important to create an elite environment. Some will fall by the wayside because it’s too much.
“To be an elite sportsperson at the top isn’t easy.”
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