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Brendan Rodgers hails Celtic goal hero Patrick Roberts after Manchester City draw

By James Riach

Pep Guardiola will decide on Patrick Roberts' future at the end of the season after the Manchester City attacker scored for Celtic against his parent club in the Champions League, with Brendan Rodgers saying the youngster has a "big career" ahead of him at City.

Roberts opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the 1-1 draw at the Etihad, which was irrelevant to the final standings in Group C.

City will not be seeded for the last-16 pairings on Monday after finishing second behind Barcelona, while Celtic were already assured of bottom spot before kick-off.

City signed Roberts for £11m from Fulham last year and he is on loan at the Hoops until the end of the season.

At first Guardiola was reluctant to talk up the 19-year-old when asked about his performance post-match, but the Spaniard eventually praised Roberts' display.

"He scored a good goal," said the City manager. "We are going to talk about (his future) at the end of the season. We know his quality."

Carnlough native Rodgers said: "I was really impressed with Patrick in the build-up to this game, because he didn't show any signs of emotion. He showed his quality, the kid. He showed that he's in the right place at this moment in his career."

The Celts boss added: "There's no point him sitting on the bench and not playing and it's great that Manchester City allows him to play in a game like this here.

"He certainly has the quality (to play for City). I think when we signed his agreement it was for 18 months. When you get to his age you need to be playing games.

"You come to Celtic, with 60,000 every week, a huge club with big expectancy and he's dealing with that remarkably well. He's won a league title, a league cup so he understands being a winner as well.

"I'm sure he'll come back in the summer and Pep and his staff will have a really good look at him. I think they will be really encouraged at what they've seen tonight.

"He's a young English talent and I'm sure they'll be a big career for him here.

"The campaign overall, I'm delighted. After our first game we knew the level we were at. But apart from the first game our performance levels have been very good.

"We haven't been beaten by Manchester City and arguably could have won both games."

Roberts, meanwhile, revealed his pride at taking such a starring role in front of not only his parent club's manager and fans, but also family who had come to see the game.

"I enjoyed it. It is not every day you get to score in the Champions League, especially in a stadium like this against a team like that so I am very pleased," he said.

"My family were here, some family from Liverpool as well, my mum and brother were there, my dad was at home watching with my sister, so it was all good.

"I just enjoy playing football for whatever team I am playing for and I give 100 per cent every time I play and I love scoring goals so it is always nice to get on the scoresheet.

"It was a great team performance and we ended the Champions League quite well.

"We had a very tough group and it was always going to be hard to get out of it. But I think we showed we are capable of standing up to the biggest teams so I am pretty pleased."

Guardiola admitted, however, that Roberts' prospects of forcing his way into the City reckoning will be determined by more than just his performance back on home soil last night.

"The decision is not only on one game," he said.

"We are going to speak with him and we will decide. Of course he has good qualities as a winger, one-on-one and he worked defensively, he has potential. I'm so happy about his performance.

"We look for [loan] clubs who are going to play in a way that suit those qualities, we need players to be quick [with the brain] and at some clubs they don't play like this. We try to help them, to play every single week and build up their football."

Belfast Telegraph


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