Brendan Rodgers backing Scott Brown to one day take over the reins at Celtic
Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic skipper Scott Brown could join the list of Hoops players who became manager of the club.
The Ulsterman picked up the Ladbrokes Premiership Manager of the Year award at Lennoxtown after guiding Celtic to their seventh consecutive title and with the promise of an unprecedented successive domestic treble in Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden.
Beside him at the photo call was his 32-year-old skipper, who was collecting the Player of the Year award from the competition sponsors.
Looking to the future, Hoops boss Rodgers - who confirmed winger Patrick Roberts will return to Manchester City after his second loan spell - surveyed the prospect of Brown one day sitting in his chair.
"I don't see any reason why not," said Rodgers.
"His legs are still strong, he is still looking after himself and this season he has won everything, every award going, and he has more years left.
"But there is no doubt, if he wants to go down that route he will need to go away, do his qualifications and study and get his experiences.
"He has a great history here but he knows if he goes into management it is a different sport, you leave your medals and cups at the door as it is a different game.
"But I am sure that later in life that is something that he can head towards. The likes of Neil Lennon did it here, Billy McNeill did it here and other players so I am sure he would like to follow in their footsteps."
Rodgers, however, curtailed Brown's coaching aspirations when he took over the club in 2016, in order to get more out of him as a player.
The former Swansea and Liverpool boss said: "When I first came in he was coaching here and I told him that if he had no plans to retire soon to step out of it. I felt it was eating too much into his time as a player, so he has come away from that."
Turning his attention to next season, Ulsterman Rodgers admitted that he would have expected a tougher challenge from Rangers regardless of Steven Gerrard's appointment as new Ibrox boss.
The Light Blues ultimately finished third under caretaker boss Jimmy Nicholl, who will make way for the ex-England and Liverpool captain, who worked under Rodgers at Anfield.
Asked if he expected the arrival of Gerrard at Rangers would make it even tougher next season, Rodgers said: "I would expect whoever was in charge at Rangers for it to be tougher.
"That's how football works, each year it gets tougher and more difficult and that will be no different, whoever was taking charge, whether it was Steven or anyone else.
"The competition was always there and it will be next season and we have to improve again next season which we will do both individually and also as a team."