JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs

BRENDAN RODGERS headed to Scotland on the road to redemption following his sacking by Liverpool in 2015.


Posted Monday, March 20, 2017 by Dailystar.co.uk

JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs
Brendan Rodgers is on course to winning the Scottish Premier League unbeaten

His destination was Celtic in Glasgow, but he should start thinking about a move back down south in the near future.

I can’t be alone in thinking Rodgers might just be the ideal replacement for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger when the Frenchman decides to sack himself.

Major shareholder Stan Kroenke won’t pull the plug, but he should.

And he should also put Rodgers top of his shortlist of replacements.

Several senior club figures took a shine to him while he was working at Liverpool. He’s well liked within the corridors of power at the Emirates.

And let’s be honest, what is the point of Rodgers hanging around at Celtic?

The Scottish giants have become nothing more than a glorified rehab centre with bosses like Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray retreating north of the border to boost their confidence and have their egos massaged.

Rodgers will soon be able to put a Scottish title on his CV, with Celtic now just a win from it after yesterday’s 2-1 win at Dundee.

They are 25 points clear but winning the Scottish crown now ranks right up there with passing your cycling proficiency test or swimming 10 lengths of a pool and getting a badge.

Even Scott Sinclair looks a competent footballer up there.

But Rodgers has still done what he set out to do. He’s used his 12 months in Glasgow to erase the pain of what happened to him at Liverpool, where he came so agonisingly close to winning the Premier League in 2014.

Rodgers has said he wants to build a legacy at Celtic, but this suggests a serious lack of ambition when it comes to fulfilling his undoubted potential.

JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs
Arsene Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal for 21 years

What legacy would that be?

Celtic have won the last five league titles and two of the last three Scottish League Cups. The legacy has already been created and Rodgers is doing nothing more than simply maintaining it.

If he thinks he can win a European title with Celtic then he must be still suffering from dizzy spells following Liverpool’s collapse that allowed Manchester City to win the Premier League two seasons ago.

Rodgers should be letting the Gunners know he is keen on talking to them if Wenger leaves this summer.

Wenger said on Saturday he has finally decided on his future but isn’t ready to let the rest of the world know what it is yet.

But Rodgers looks to be a good fit when Wenger finally does go.

He ticks a lot of boxes for the Gunners and it appears to be the challenge Rodgers now needs.

He’s served his apprenticeship in English football, working at the likes of Chelsea, Watford, Reading and Swansea before coming within a whisker of ending Liverpool’s long, long wait to be champions again.

But for Steven Gerrard’s fateful slip against Chelsea on that infamous afternoon at Anfield in April 2014 then who knows what may have happened.

Life might have been so much different for Rodgers, who still won the manager of the year award at the end of that season.

But during his time on Mersyeside he moulded a team that thrived on fast, fluent and attacking football. Qualities embedded in the Gunners’ DNA.

JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs
Brendan Rodgers nurtured Raheem Sterling before his £50m move to Manchester City

He had the ultimate faith in passing football and developing young talents, such as Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.

He upheld the values and traditions of the club, similar ones cherished so dearly by the Gunners and he experienced what working to high demands and expectation levels was like.

Rodgers had his faults too, but the foundations are in place with someone more than capable of helping the Gunners bridge the transition between life with and without Wenger.

ROMELU LUKAKU has come in for some stick after it emerged he won’t sign a new deal with Everton.

Perhaps the striker has taken one look at team-mate Leighton Baines and realised that remaining loyal to the Toffees doesn’t win you medals.

Baines had the chance to join Manchester United three seasons ago, but stayed at Goodison Park instead.

It was a mistake - and Lukaku isn’t about to make the same one.

He deserves to be playing in the Champions League and challenging for Premier League titles. He won’t be able to do this with the Toffees so why shouldn’t he consider his options this summer?

Ronald Koeman’s men might have big ambitions, but if offering him a deal worth £140,000-a-week is the limit of them then the Merseyside outfit will always face a constant battle to keep their prize assets.

That salary is peanuts compared to what the biggest clubs are prepared to offer in this day and age.

It’s also why the clubs the Toffees aspire to compete with will end up winning all the top prizes again this season.

THE neanderthals of Muirfield have crawled out of their caves and finally voted to allow female members to join their beloved golf club.

JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs
Henry Fairweather declared on March 14 that Muirfield will allow women members

But we shouldn’t be celebrating the decision.

We shouldn’t even be debating it in the first place, because the vote shouldn’t have to happen. This is 2017.

What we should be concerned with is the fact that 20 per cent of members still voted against having female members. These blokes remain in total darkness.

Muirfield will now be back on The Open rota and when golf’s biggest tournament does return to the course, these same members will be afforded special privileges like mixing with the players and getting access to places others don’t get.

Those who voted against having women members should be identified. Named and shamed if you like.

Then superstars like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson can choose to give them a taste of their own medicine by ignoring them and treating them like pariahs.

JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Rodgers should replace Wenger, Lukaku should go, Muirfield dinosaurs
Owen Farrell has 51 caps for England

TALK is growing of Owen Farrell being the surprise choice to captain the British Lions in New Zealand this summer.

Farrell would relish the role no doubt and wouldn’t let anyone down.

He’s become a colossus within England’s back-to-back Six Nations winning side and will be one of the first names on Warren Gatland’s team sheet for the Test series.

But making him skipper would be a mistake.

Why burden such an influential player with this massive responsibility when he will have goalkicking and organising his midfield to think about?

Let him go out and play.

My vote goes to Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones - as long as he’s fit.

JOACHIM LOW'S Germany will be eager to avenge their defeat at England’s hands 12 months ago.

The German coach has named four Premiership players in his squad for Wednesday’s friendly rematch in Dortmund.

Manchester City’s red hot Leroy Sane and Liverpool’s energetic Emre Can join the Arsenal pair Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi.

Another England win is 3/1 with 188BET but a Germany victory is odds on at 8/11.

Ozil to score at anytime is 7/4 while Marcus Rashford to score the first goal is 15/2.

Jermain Defoe is 15/2 to score first on his return to the squad while Spurs midfielder Dele Alli is an enticing 9/1.

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