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Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Celtic star can become one of the world's best, says Rodgers

 

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has tipped striker Moussa Dembele to become one of the best strikers in world football.

The Glasgow side will know all about the cream of the crop when they take on PSG in France tonight. Celtic lost 5-0 on matchday one of their Champions League campaign to the big-spending French club who, with four Group B wins out of four, have already qualified for the knockout stages along with second-placed Bayern Munich.

And as good as PSG's attacking talent are - including the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria - Rodgers has tipped Dembele to one day fit into that top bracket. The 21-year-old spent eight years with tonight's opponents before moving to Fulham, where he began his senior career.

Rodgers said: "Moussa left Paris when he was 15 and progressed very well. He made the step out of Fulham to come to us. When he left Fulham he wanted to come to a club where he would experience pressure.

"He is playing in front of 60,000 every other week, playing in a team where they have dominance and have the ball and, of course, he left to become a winner, winning trophies and getting that feeling of winning.

"I have seen a big development in him as a young man and player and I really expect him over the coming years to develop and improve and go on to be one of the world's best strikers.

"I have been fortunate in my coaching and managerial career to have worked with some of the best strikers in the world and he is certainly working his way towards being that.

"He is still very young, he has shown it for Celtic and France Under-21s and I am sure Didier Deschamps and his staff will be looking at the next step for him."

Turning his attention to tonight's fixture, Rodgers put his side's task into context while admitting another heavy defeat could happen.

He said: "We hope we can get a better performance and result. We have taken encouragement as the games have gone on. Our last performance against Bayern Munich (lost 2-1) was excellent.

"If you don't get the result, for us, it is about taking pride in the performance. So that is something we hope we can achieve.

"We understand we are playing against a team that is arguably the best of the best, which is a huge challenge for every team they come up against.

"Their team has a great chance of winning the competition, they have big game experience and quality in every position.

"When you have the goal threat that this team have, with Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria and Kylian Mbappe, you can go anywhere knowing you can score goals and win games.

"We can be as good as we want to be but it (heavy defeat) may still happen. You only need to look at their results and how well they beat teams.

"We would like to put up a better show in relation to performance and the scoreline. That is key for us."

Hoops keeper Craig Gordon, meanwhile, claims any positive result at all against PSG would eclipse Scotland's memorable win in the city 10 years ago.

The 34-year-old was between the sticks when the Scots beat France 1-0 in a Euro qualifier at the Parc des Princes in 2007, thanks to James McFadden.

Gordon, however, has more recent and painful memories of PSG's 5-0 Champions League win at Parkhead in September.

The French club are yet to concede a goal, and asked if a draw or win would be a bigger achievement than the unlikely victory in Paris a decade ago, when the home side then had players such as Patrick Vieira, Franck Ribery and Nicolas Anelka, the former Hearts and Sunderland keeper (above) said: "Yes, I think it would.

"When you play international football, players come from all different clubs and we don't get enough time to work on things.

"This is a club who is on top of European football, they have some of the best players in the world who work together every day. They know how to play together and that for me would make it a bigger achievement.

"This team is even better than that (France) team were so anything at all like that would be a sensational result.

"They've not even been losing goals so its difficult for anyone to come here and think about getting a draw.

"We'll give ourselves a chance. We want to try and stay in the game, have a good start in the game.

"That's what we'll concrete on trying to do and if we can do that and frustrate them for a while then we'll give ourselves a possibility later on in the game."

Belfast Telegraph

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