The Celtic midfielder has been reborn this season under Rodgers.
Yes, the Norwegian sanctioned the midfielder’s move from Dundee United in the winter of 2015 but the fact is that it was not until Brendan Rodgers replaced him at the helm this season that Armstrong began to really demonstrate why the club bought him in the first place.
Netting an impressive 13 goals in the most prolific season of his career, the 24-year-old could be called in for his international debut in Scotland’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.
But that is the player Armstrong has become. Dependable and consistent, he has been the underrated driving force behind Celtic’s procession to the title.
Therefore, it must be remembered that such an improvement only came about after Rodgers had put him at the centre of Celtic’s midfield while Deila is often accused of diluting his potential by forcing him into an ill-suited wide role.
However, the current Valerenga boss has claimed that Armstrong was forced out of position by the plethora of technical midfielders at his disposal, including one player Rodgers discarded quickly and somewhat controversially, The Herald reports.
Clever and technical, Stefan Johansen was one of Celtic’s most impressive and consistent performers under Deila, pulling the strings from central midfield. And, with seven goals and seven assists for Championship play-off hopefuls Fulham this season, it would be easy to question Rodgers’ decision to discard him weeks into his reign.
Yet, as Deila says, there was no room for Armstrong in midfield with Johansen one of the first names on the team sheet. Only since the Norwegian’s departure has the former Tannadyce hero been able to flourish.
Therefore, Rodgers must be praised for the bravery of his decision. In hindsight, it has proved a risk worth taking.