Scottish Premiership: Brendan Rodgers compares Scott Brown to N'Golo Kante

Samuel Lovett
The Independent

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has compared Scott Brown to Chelsea’sN’Golo Kante as he lamented his captain’s exclusion from the PFA Scotland Player of the Year shortlist.

Despite enjoying one of his best seasons at Parkhead in recent years, Brown was overlooked as a nominee.

Celtic trio Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Stuart Armstrong, alongside Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes, were all named on the four-man shortlist.

Rodgers, who guided his men to their sixth consecutive Scottish Premiership title early last month, expressed his surprise that Brown had not been included while suggesting that the player’s driving influence at Celtic matches that of Kante’s at Chelsea.

“I am very surprised,” said the Celtic manager. “I look at Kante down south, a central midfield player who is not flash and does the dirty work — but does it to a real top level.

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“For us up here, I think that's what Scott Brown does. I don't know how he was last year, but consistently over 50-odd games this season he has been a top performer.

“He has had one bad game, Hearts away (as Celtic clinched the league). Every other game he was eight out of ten, nine out of ten.

Kante was named the English PFA Player of the Year (Getty Images)
Kante was named the English PFA Player of the Year (Getty Images)

“You talk about influence and you judge people in the big pressure games. How many times have you seen the influence of Scott Brown?

“Minimum, he is worthy of a nomination. I respect you can only nominate a certain number, but this is a guy whose level has been unbelievable throughout the season.”

When put to him that players in the Scottish league might not have voted for Brown on account of his aggression and bite on the pitch, Rodgers insisted that it was this “edge” which helped define the captain as one of the “best”.

“He has got that [aggression], no doubt about it,” he added. “Before I knew him, I thought he could do with smiling a bit more!

“He is two different people. The man on a day-to-day basis is totally different to the guy you see in the tunnel, starey-eyed, aggressive.

“My experience of the best players, the world-class, is that they all have the edge. And he has the edge. Maybe there is not enough of that level.

Brown is known for his aggression on the pitch (Getty)
Brown is known for his aggression on the pitch (Getty)

“Also, the guys who score the goals get the rewards normally. But, because of Scott's level, I was surprised. He is at the top of his game physically.”

Not that Brown will be fazed by the snub. With the Premiership and League Cup already secured, the 31-year-old is on the brink of becoming the first Celtic captain since Tom Boyd to lift the Treble.

Should Celtic also remain unbeaten in the process, this season will go down as one of the club's best in recent memory.

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