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Brendan Rodgers - from Carnlough to Liverpool, lowdown on the new Kop King

BY STEVEN BEACOM

Brendan Rodgers is the man who went from Carnlough to the Kop.

The native of county Antrim is the manager of Liverpool Football Club and has become a hero to millions of Reds fans around the globe.

Born on January 26, 1973, exactly 10 years after a certain Jose Mourinho, Brendan attended St Patrick's College in Ballymena. He played gaelic games and basketball at the school but football was to become his sporting love thanks to the encouragement of his dad Malachy, who relished watching free flowing football teams on television.

As a teenager Brendan, the eldest of five brothers, soon started to make his mark on the game at Ballymena United before going on a series of trials to clubs across the water, including Manchester United.

He signed for Reading at 18 but unfortunately injury cut short his playing career.

The youngster could have returned home but decided to stay in England and become a coach. He worked with kids at Reading, all the while travelling around Europe, in particular Spain, to learn about the game.

In 2004 he became youth team manager at Chelsea during Jose Mourinho's first spell as manager. The bright and enthusiastic Ulsterman impressed the Special One and was soon promoted to reserve team manager and later worked with the first team.

In 2008 he was appointed as Watford manager but left less than a year later, taking over at Reading, where again his time in charge was short.

In 2010 he became boss at Swansea City where he worked wonders guiding the Welsh side into the Premier League. That led, in 2012, to him succeeding the legendary Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager.

Intent on doing things his way he has rejuvenated the Anfield outfit, who after finishing seventh in the Premier League in Brendan's first campaign are amazingly challenging for the title this season, playing some of the best football the supporters have seen since the glory days of the 80s.

Rodgers is a genuine bloke, with an astute footballing brain and has been described by Liverpool's iconic skipper Steven Gerrard as being the best man manager he has worked under.

There is no doubt that the boy from Carnlough is doing himself, his family and Northern Ireland proud.

He has become one of the most respected and revered managers in Europe.

This section on the Belfast Telegraph's successful and hugely popular website is dedicated to Brendan Rodgers, one of our own making it big at the elite level of football.

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