"Perfect for me"; Former Liverpool winger reveals he wanted to sign for Celtic under Rodgers
Former Liverpool, Arsenal and Stoke City player Jermaine Pennant has revealed he wanted to sign for Celtic during the Brendan Rodgers era, speaking on the Open Goal podcast today.
Pennant played in Singapore when Rodgers arrived at the Bhoys in 2016, before returning to Britain to play in League One and briefly have a trial spell at Hibernian under Neil Lennon.
However, it sounds like he harboured an ambition to pull on the Hoops and resurrect his career under Rodgers – a coach and manager who has a reputation for doing exactly that.
Asked by Open Goal if he nearly signed for Celtic, Pennant said: “Yes. I can’t remember the year but it was Brendan Rodgers.
“I think it was when my contract was coming to an end at Stoke and I was in talks with Celtic. But I think that someone else signed so that deal kind of dropped off.
“I love experiencing different things which is why I went to Spain. I thought Celtic would have been perfect for me at that time in my career. To sample the rivalry with Rangers and Scottish football I thought was something I could look forward to. And it’s not far from home. I didn’t speak to Rodgers but my agent did.”
Pennant made over 250 appearances in the English Premier League and La Liga, so had a fair bit of elite experience behind him when discussions with Celtic started.
However, by this time he was in his thirties and it was clear his career was coming to an end. After his unsuccessful Hibs trial in 2017 he only managed to sign for non-league side Billericay Town before ultimately retiring in 2019.
So it feels unlikely he would have made a big impact in a Celtic side that included an improving James Forrest and a red hot Scott Sinclair. Still, what could’ve been?
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