Nobody needs to extol the virtues of Brendan Rodgers to Dorus de Vries. The Dutch goalkeeperĀ had the privilege of serving under the coach twice for Swansea and Celtic. It would have been three times had the Northern Irishman got his way when he was manager at Liverpool but that's an entirely different story altogether.

So when de Vries tells you that Rodgers is an elite-level manager he knows of what he speaks. The 42-year-old admits that he was captivatedĀ from the moment his old boss walked into the Swansea dressing room in 2007.

It was to be the beginning of a beautiful working relationship, something exemplified by Rodgers' admission that losing De Vries to Wolves in 2011 sat alongside sellingĀ Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014 as among his greatest managerial career disappointments.

De Vries said: "Brendan was the kind of manager who could bring the best out in me as a player during my career. He did it with me at Swansea and he pushed to make that club better every day. We played great football under himĀ and he had an eye for some wonderful transfer deals like Scott Sinclair whom he eventually brought to Celtic. That was a golden transfer for Swansea and he replicated that when he signed him for Celtic.

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"I ended up leaving Swansea in 2011 and Brendan was unavailable as he was climbing Kilimanjaro for a charity event. We couldn't communicate properly and the contract negotiations went on for a long time. It was annoying. There were a couple of English Premier League clubs interested in meĀ and I chose Wolverhampton Wanderers. It was probably not the best career move looking back on it. I got injured and I ended up being relegated with Wolves.

"Brendan also left Swansea to go to Liverpool and he tried to sign me when he was at Anfield. It never quite materialised because they were reluctant to sell me at that time. Liverpool also had a different approach to signing players over 30 as there is no re-sell value on them but unfortunately, the transfer didn't happen.

"I eventually did sign for Brendan again when he went to Celtic and when I got that phone call I just kept thinking: 'Please make it happen.' Believe me when I tell you Brendan is an elite-level manager. He is a great communicator. He is a brilliant tactician. He is constantly evolving. That is a good thing.

"He is also a manager who always thinks about what is happening at the youth development level which is a huge part of the club. People underestimate that stuff sometimes and think it is all about the first team. It isn't for Brendan and it would be nice to have some graduates from the youth set-up to push through to the first team and he is constantly thinking about that - 'when can I put them alongside the experienced ones so they can help the young guys out'?

"That's why he is an elite-level manager. When you are in the football management business with the big clubs you have to be smart and intelligent but also learn to manage. He is a fantastic manager. He has tremendous qualities.

"There are a couple of players who are still there from his first spell and they will look forward to working with him again. It would have been a 100 per cent yes fromĀ them when they found out Brendan was coming back. They would have thought it was amazing to get him back.

"When somebody has that amount of drive and passion it is amazing to see and the players who were there before will notice a different Brendan for sure. He keeps pushing forward and he wants to progress players and the club always. He won't stop until he and Celtic are back winning major trophies again."

De Vries, who made five appearances for Celtic during the Invincible season,Ā insists it did not come as a major shock to him when Rodgers returned for a second spell at Celtic due to his genuine love for the club. He believes it made perfect sense for the champions to bring back Rodgers after the trophy-laden two years under Ange Postecoglou who quit for EPL outfit Tottenham Hotspur in the summer.

He said: "It never really came as a surprise to me that Brendan Rodgers ended up back at Celtic. He was available and when Ange Postecoglou left to go to Tottenham Hotspur it was a big position to fill again.

"It was quite a logical decision for me that Celtic would approach Brendan again. He loves the club and he knows what it is all about.Ā HeĀ is a Celtic supporter and that is great for the club. He had tremendous resultsĀ the first time around and it is not even a discussion.

"He is a very intelligent gentleman. He doesn't like to sit around, kick back and relax. He wants to constantly improve. He is always putting demands on his players as well as himself in order to improve. I am pretty sure we will see that in the next couple of months that Brendan is a fantastic to guy to lead the club."

Celtic Way:

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De Vries is also sureĀ that Celtic'sĀ current number one Joe Hart still has plenty to offer the club. Pundits have been lining up to have a pop at the former Manchester City and England star and some had called for Celtic to recruit new blood in the position, especially for this season's Champions League group stage where they will take on Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio. De Vries isn't having it though, and while heĀ can see a new keeper arriving to fight for the shirt, he doesn't agree that has to mean Hart beingĀ dislodged from his spot between the sticks.

De Vries said: "Joe Hart has got personality. He is a great character to have in the dressing room and like Brendan he has drive and passion. Joe has all this experience and he is still an exceptional goalkeeper despite going through a lot in his career at Manchester City and afterwards.

"When he signed at Celtic, people were saying let's see how he fares but Joe has been exceptional. I am pretty sure with Brendan at the helm and goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods in situ they will get him better every day.Ā I respect Joe a lot and he is in my opinion, a first-class goalkeeper. Whether the club decides to bring in an extra-guy as a back-up to Joe then that is up to them.

"This is life, especially in football as players are constantly fighting for places. If you want to improve yourself then you have to stay on your toes and stay sharp and I'm pretty sure that Joe lives up to those kinds of standards every day at Celtic. He has proven that throughout his club career in England and on the international scene as he is the proud owner of 75Ā England caps. Everybody can see Joe's passion for Celtic. I have the utmost respect for him."

Dorus De Vries was speaking ahead of the Scottish Masters Cup 2023 at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on the 9th of September. To purchase your tickets, please visit:Ā