Celtic would be a top-six club in England, claims Brendan Rodgers

English clubs’ wariness over the potential of Celtic makes a move south unlikely, according to boss Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic would be a top-six club in England, claims Brendan Rodgers

The English Football League recently ruled out the prospect of clubs outside its borders joining an extended structure as they seek eight new members to form four divisions of 20.

Following the dramatic 3-3 Champions League draw with Premier League leaders Manchester City at Parkhead on Wednesday night, Rodgers claimed the Glasgow club were “a major threat to nearly every English club playing in England”.

Rodgers said: “Make no bones about it. If Celtic are in England, Celtic are one of the top four/six clubs there.

“So can you imagine then the resources playing at that level, what that would produce for Celtic. It could go as far as it wants then.

“For Celtic to be in the English pyramid system is very tough because of the size of the club.

“We have the history, huge club, fanbase, team, stadium, it would be a frightening prospect and an exciting prospect if it ever happened but for others looking through it would be very difficult to accept.

“If you are another club playing in that (Premier) league or the Championship or League One, would you like that type of threat coming in to possibly stop you coming into the league?

“I don’t think you would want it and that is the reality.

“So I think it is always going to be difficult to get that across.”

Rodgers also believes “a truly great Celtic night” against City demonstrated the folly of Uefa restructuring the Champions League to the benefit of the top leagues in Europe.

New changes to the competition will see the top four clubs from the four highest-ranked associations — currently Spain, Germany, England and Italy — automatically enter the group stage from 2018. The champions route, which Celtic used this season, will be reduced from five to four teams.

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned of the risk of “an inexorable slide towards an NFL-style closed-shop system”.

After losing 7-0 to Barcelona in their Group C opener, Rodgers’ side more than deserved their point against a City side who had won the first 10 games in all competitions under new boss Pep Guardiola.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Dundee in the Ladbrokes Premiership, Rodgers said: “Probably after the Barcelona game there were critics, which is natural when you lose so heavily.

“But when you put into perspective there has to be an opportunity for clubs like Celtic, one of the great clubs in world football, to play in this competition. The competition is better for a club like Celtic in it.

“Of course you have to earn the right to be in it, you have to qualify but it shouldn’t be made near on impossible because you don’t have television money and you don’t have the propaganda that goes with that.”

Guardiola, meanwhile, expects the race in Champions League Group C for the last-16 qualification spots to go down to the final round of matches.

Second-placed City’s next two fixtures in the group are against leaders Barcelona away and then home, followed by a trip to Monchengladbach before they finish up by hosting Celtic.

Guardiola said: “When the fourth team in the pot is Celtic, you immediately realise how tough it will be to qualify, to go through.

“(It will be like that) to the last game, when we play Celtic at home.

“I said to my players in the beginning, in this group it will be decided if you are able to qualify for the next round in the last game.

“When we play against Barcelona, it will be tough.

“Now is the time to analyse what we did, and we are going to see what happens at Barcelona, and then (against them) at home. Of course, we are now second, but we have chances still, so we’ll see.”

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