BRENDAN RODGERS last night outlined the challenge facing Kris Commons as he begins the process of slashing his Celtic squad.
Hugely influential under Neil Lennon, yet largely marginalised under Ronny Deila, Commons is one of the players in the ‘at risk’ category.
At 32-years-old and a high wage earner, the midfielder doesn’t appear an obvious fit for the new Hoops manager’s all-action brand of football.
“Kris, or any player for that matter, has to be able to play how I want to work,” said Rodgers.
“They have to be able to run. They have to be able to press. They have to be aggressive. They have to be able to touch and get up to people.
“Celtic are, of course, used to having the ball but you have to get it back as well. Any player has to find that common idea and be in a team which will have one brain in the team. A collective.
“The possibility is open to every player. But at this moment in time, Kris is injured so he is just worrying about getting fit – then we will see where he is at.”
In a similar situation is the former Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven, who failed to make the trip to Slovenia because of injury.
Some of the players Rodgers has had the chance to look at, have already been told they can go.
Others have been identified as suitable subjects to be sent out on loan. Scott Allan, who ex-Celtic regular Gary Caldwell wanted to take down on a season-long loan to Wigan Athletic, is not one of them.
“Scott will definitely stay,” said Rodgers.
“I really like what I’ve seen with him. It’s trying to give him good tactical understanding of the game. He is mobile, he can run and he can press. Hopefully this can be a good season for him.”
While it is “too early” to say about one day pursuing a permanent deal for Patrick Roberts, who is on long-term loan from Manchester City, Rodgers has confirmed his desire to bring former £14-million man Kolo Toure to Celtic Park.
“We will see with Kolo. He is a fantastic guy, who was brilliant for me. I brought him in as a cover player and he never let the team down.
“He was an African Nations’ winner and definitely a big-game player. We played away in Real Madrid and he was Man of the Match. He was also fantastic in the Europa League Final.
“He played for Manchester City and, going back, was one of Arsenal’s Invincibles playing more games in that team than anybody.
“Although he is 35 now, he is one of those guys who is super fit.”