It’s clear to see that Tom Rogic’s Celtic appearances have been on the downward trend this season.
This isn’t anything to do with injuries or suspensions. It also isn’t anything to do with new signings coming in and taking Rogic’s place.
The only reason that Celtic’s Australian superstar isn’t getting regular game-time is because he’s been poor this season. Last week, we touched on what was going wrong with Rogic, and spoke about his decline.
There’s no denying that since his new contract, things haven’t been the same. Rogic was never a quick footballer, but even now he looks substantially slower on the ball than we remember him.
For those calling for him to be reintroduced against Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday night, it just shouldn’t happen.
Red Bull are going to be up and at Celtic from the get-go. They’re firing on all fronts at the moment and are level with the Hoops in their Europa League group. Should Red Bull pick up the win against Celtic, they’ll go three points clear at the top, so they’ll be up for the fight.
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Celtic need legs
In order for Celtic to combat that on Thursday night, they need runners. The likes of Rogic isn’t the kind of player who’ll be able to track back, win the ball, and run 50 yards with it. He doesn’t have the stamina or the skillset to be able to do that. Yet that’s exactly the kind of player Brendan Rodgers needs in Austria.
Callum McGregor hasn’t been performing to the level we all expect of him either. The truth is, however, that his legs are more required than those of Rogic. McGregor is exactly the kind of player who’ll have the energy to drop deep and help out at the back. Meanwhile, when he gets on the ball, you can rely on him to get it forward quickly and force the issue.
Rogic is more of a luxury player in that respect. When he’s on his game, he’s beautiful to watch with a football. Some of the things he can do with his left foot are unparalleled at Parkhead.
The problem is we simply aren’t seeing that from him this season. Throwing him into a huge game against a side rip-roaring in form is too risky.
Rodgers has to go for the safe option and pick McGregor. We’ve both seen that they can’t play in the same side in the past, so it’s a case of either/or. Thursday’s requirements mean McGregor has to get the nod.