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Brendan Rodgers lays down Hatate Law

Ange Postecoglou has warned that players won’t be selected on reputation.

Before being injured in March Reo Hatate looked a certainty for last season’s Player of the Year honours but ended up barely on the short lists.

Helping Celtic to a treble and an international recall would have more than made up for missing out on the individual honours.

Ange Postecoglou’s departure will have caused a little unrest but after a late arrival in the professional game the midfielder has the perfect platform at Celtic with a club that dominates in domestic matches and faces giants of the game in the Champions League.

Hatate looked in absolute top form when Celtic played Yokohama F Marinos and Gamba Osaka but looked badly off the pace in his 45 minute appearance against Athletic Bilbao.

When Brendan Rodgers picked his side for the first domestic match of the season Hatate was on the bench with David Turnbull and Matt O’Riley to play alongside Callum McGregor.

Explaining that decision, Rodgers told The Sun:

It’s not in my contract to play any player. He’s got three years left on his contract, so there’s no rush on that. It’s a new cycle, a new manager, and Reo has to prove himself.

I’m not really worried about what’s said or not. I’ll play the team I see with the best energy, mentality and efficiency with how we want to work. There’s no doubt Reo is a talented player, but there are other talented players here.

If players aren’t playing, I’ve been open and honest with them about where we’re at, how I prepare a team, and when they are not playing how they have to respond. Reos’s been really good in training. He didn’t play, but he came into the game. He knows areas he needs to work on to play for me, and the structure of how I work.

He’s responded really well and will absolutely be a player we need over the course of the season.

Sunday’s team selection and substitutes bench will be interesting as Rodgers II evolves and fans get a feel for the way that he wants to play.

After missing a team meeting Alexandro Bernabei is likely to be on his best behaviour, as well as developing the Argentinian it will also allow Greg Taylor some resting time.

Carl Stafelt’s transfer creates one space on the bench for Sunday but Barry Robson’s side are likely to provide a more physical challenge that Ross County.

Ange Postecoglou wouldn’t alter his style for any opponent but it seems likely that his successor will make a few allowances towards how Aberdeen and others will set out against the hoops.

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