Belfast Telegraph

Brendan was happy to pass on wisdom to David: Robinson

 

By Graham Luney

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson has offered an insight into the huge respect between David Healy and Brendan Rodgers ahead of Friday's blockbuster Champions League clash at Windsor Park.

The two Ulstermen will be rival bosses when the champions of Scotland and Northern Ireland square up in the mouthwatering second qualifying round first leg tie, which kicks off at 5pm.

In 2013, Healy and Robinson met up with the Carnlough man at Liverpool's Melwood training ground and happily absorbed a few words of wisdom from the then Kop chief.

Northern Ireland legend Healy left feeling "eight feet tall" and the Killyleagh man is certainly making a big impact as a manager by guiding Linfield to a stunning treble last season.

"We asked Brendan could we come up and see some of the Northern Ireland boys up there and watch training and we thought that was all it was," Robinson said.

"We had lunch with Brendan and then he brought us into the office and made us feel ever so welcome.

"He shut the doors for two or three hours and he was very interested in what we were trying to do.

"We were trying to pick his brains and we had a really good football chat."

The Hoops warmed up for the Linfield clash by thrashing Shamrock Rovers 9-0 in a friendly and the Blues players and management are well aware this double-header is the most formidable challenge they have faced in their careers.

Former Northern Ireland coach Robinson added: "You have got boys who will be training two or three times a week and you have got Celtic, which is a massive institution and a massive club with top footballers who only finished four or five weeks ago.

"So it is a massive disadvantage for Linfield. Northern Ireland clubs have to look at summer football and ways of bridging the gap.

"Taking the football full-time would be the ideal scenario, but a summer league, like they play down south, would give them a realistic chance of succeeding. I am reading that the game against Celtic is worth more than a million pounds to Linfield, which is a heck of a lot more than winning the Irish League."

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