It’s difficult to gauge sometimes just how seriously you should take Brendan Rodgers’ praise. The soundbite-spouting Celtic boss has developed a reputation for overegging the pudding somewhat when it comes to lauding the talents at his disposal – as Joe ‘the Welsh Xavi’ Allen will undoubtedly attest.
Though Rodgers’ tribute to young Dundee centre-back Jack Hendry in the aftermath of the 22-year-old’s impressive performance on Parkhead on Saturday certainly seemed sincere.
Hendry has made an impressive start to life at Dens Park after signing permanently from Wigan Athletic in the summer and continued his good form with a solid showing as Celtic were forced to rely on a long-range Olivier Ntcham strike to see off Neil McCann’s side at Parkhead.
“Dundee did well on Saturday, I was impressed,” Rodgers said in quotes reported by the Evening Telegraph. “They’ve got some good players, played their shape well at times and there’s some decent athletes in there that can get on the ball.
“Hendry at the back was excellent. He’s quick and strong. He’s a good size and Scotland needs centre-halves — he’s tall, he can run and pass so he looks a talent.”
While the Scottish national team could do with a few extra options at the heart of a defence still containing the ageing duo of Charlie Mulgrew and Christophe Berra, Rodgers’ Celtic side also appear to be a centre-half short.
The Hoops were hoping to land Ajax Cape Town defender Rivaldo Coetzee in the summer, only for a failed medical to scupper the South African international’s hopes of getting his big break in Scottish football.
And injury problems to Jozo Simunovic, Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata at times this season have exposed Celtic’s lack of depth. Midfielder Nir Bitton has even been forced to drop into a back four with mixed results.
Perhaps Celtic, then, should consider Hendry as a potential target in January. Blessed with youth and technical ability, he’s certainly the style of centre-half Rodgers likes.