Brendan Rodgers has backed Scott Brown’s retirement from international football and believes it will help his Celtic career.
The 31-year-old former Scotland captain announced his decision in a statement released by the Scottish FA in order “to prolong his club career after recovering from injury”.
Brown, capped 50 times, has been in fine form under Rodgers this season and, after the 5-2 Champions League play-off first-leg win over Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Wednesday night, the Hoops boss said the midfielder was good enough to play in the English Premier league.
Rodgers spoke to Brown about his Scotland decision and ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash at St Johnstone, the Northern Irishman said: “I think it is the right decision for him, obviously a very difficult decision for him.
“We talked in general, it was general chat about him and his game. It was in his mind. I think he spoke to (Scotland coach) Gordon (Strachan) a few months back.
“I have been really impressed by Scott as a footballer and equally as a person.
“He has had a great run at Scotland but knows at one point you have to think of yourself, your body.
“He is 31 and he wants to ensure he wants to give everything to Celtic, knowing that there will always be other players coming through with Scotland, younger players that will give the manager the chance to build something.
“He is a passionate man about his country and with Gordon being his manager, who he is really close with, it was a really tough decision for him.
“But I think it is the right move.
“He is in the final chapter of his career, he has still got a number of years in him yet. He will probably want to give those best times to Celtic.”
Rodgers pointed out the tough schedule Brown would have faced if he had stayed for Scotland’s 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, which begins away to Malta in September.
The former Liverpool boss said: “Scotland play England around June 10 next year.
“Touch wood, if we are in the same situation as we were this year in the Champions League qualification route, he would be back in on June 25.
“These guys are athletes, human beings, not robots.
“I think he is a top-class player but Scotland have other good players. He knows that in order to get the best out of himself.
“He has had the first summer off for a very long time which allowed him to recover from injuries he had from last year.
“He has got leaner, fitter over pre-season and you see the result of it.
“It allows Scott Brown to focus on himself for the first time.
“There comes a time when it takes a toll on your body.”
Rodgers is looking to meet up with compatriot Tommy Wright when he takes his side to Perth on Saturday.
He said: “I don’t know Tommy that well, I have spoken to him a number of times over the phone.
“I think he has done awfully well, I don’t think he gets the credit for the job that he has done.
“I always look at fellow countrymen him like him, Neil (Lennon), Michael (O’Neill) and I like to see them do well and I think he has done a good job at St Johnstone.”