BRENDAN RODGERS has admitted he needs old heads — as he signalled a change in Celtic’s transfer policy.
With a clear focus on bringing in emerging talent, only six of the Hoops’ last 25 signings have been over the age of 24.
Brendan Rodgers has identified the changes he needs to make to his squad in January and next summer[/caption]
The manager insists Dermot Desmond is fully behind his plans[/caption]
The Celts boss said: “There’s no doubt experience is important. You cannot just have a team of really young players.
“You’re never going to extract that potential out of them unless you have experience beside them.
“We have young talents here that will develop and grow and that’s theof the club.
“But to continue to improve and grow, you need to also have players who are established because they help bring those players up.
“And I am very, very confident that we can do that over the comingwindows.
“Also, for the level of games you play, if you solely rely on young players for game after game after game, then they don’t have it in their legs. You’ll find they will break down.
“Every club will always look to bring in young, talented players and that can be a goodmodel. You progress them and then fly and the club gets the . But every player can’t be that.
“It’s balance because I enjoy working with young players and seeing them grow and develop.
“But equally, Iworking with senior players who can help bring them through.
“They bring those habits and behaviours off the pitch.
“I see whatbrings to our squad. His commitment and enthusiasm passes on to the younger players.
“Being here the first time,was a massive influence on .
“Kolo Toure was a great role model for Dedryck Boyata and the other centre-halves here in helping them get through games.
“Scott Sinclair was a proven player when I signed him and I knew what I was going to get with him. He was going to bring speed andto the team. You can’t dismiss that.
“You definitely need that experience in games.
“We’ve had one window in which a number of players were over the line to come in.
“But hopefully in the coming windows we can get the squad to a balanced level where it’s a mixture of experience and youth, but always with quality.
“Listen, you can be 23 or 24 and experienced. It doesn’t always have to be an older player.”
And, despite signing nine players in the, he admits need extra quality.
Rodgers said: “I felt when I came in here in the summer, with the squad already in place, that we probably needed four players.
“By that, I meant four quality players to add to the squad.
“Now, how the game works, you lose players.
“We lost real quality players in the summer, so that’s something in the coming windows we’ll look to improve on.
“The squad will come down in numbers and we need to add quality, there’s no dressing it up.
“It doesn’t necessarily all have to be in January because the right players might not be available. It might be the summer.
“But certainly over my time here we want to improve the depth and the quality.
“If in January we can do that, then I’m pretty sure the club will give us every chance to improve the team.”
Rodgers insists Celtic’s Champions League KO only increases his motivation to make them more competitive at that level.
And he assured fans that everyone at the club is determined to achieve European progress.
Rodgers said: “The supporters have every right to demand the highest level. That’s what we demand here also.
“The club has been so well run for so many years and, from a domestic perspective, that’s been highlighted in what the club has achieved.
“I think thestep is the European side and that’s why I came back, to hopefully be able to fulfil that in my time here.”
chief Dermot Desmond was in Rome to watch the 2-0 defeat to and Rodgers revealed he is fully behind his long-term plans.
He said: “Yeah, the club are clear on that and where we want to get to in terms of our level.
“Dermot is keen for us to progress. He was one of the big reasons why I came back.
“Mywith him is very strong from the first time I was here. He was the main influence in convincing me to come back.
“My communication with Dermot is very good. We speak on the phone, he was in Rome for the game and I saw him at the Pope’s Blessing.
“I didn’t have too much interaction out there with him, but it was great for Dermot to be there, along with his son Ross.”