Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he would not be surprised to see Scott Brown manage Celtic one day, but has insisted that for now the player deserves the time and space necessary to decide upon his next career step.

The Celtic captain is wanted by Australian side Western Melbourne who were granted passage into Australia’s A-League this week. They have identified Brown as the player they wish to bring in as a marquee signing when his current deal at Celtic expires this season.

Whether there is a stint in Oz or not to bring his playing days to a close, Rodgers expects that Brown will ultimately find a niche in management.

“Absolutely. No doubt,” said the Celtic manager. “He is a really influential figure in the changing room and like I say, whatever happens in the future there will always be a role back here at Celtic. You never know, he might one day do what Neil Lennon did and captain the club for so long and then move into management, if he is mad enough!

“He has leadership qualities and skills, absolutely. There is a lot of work that needs to go into it – in terms of coaching and organisation. And I think the next ten years is interesting from a managing perspective – he would have to deal with all that side, the self-interest of players and work along that.

“There are a lot of things involved now in coaching and management which are growing every year. But I do not think there is any doubt – it’s a route he wants to go down, and I am sure he will do very, very well.”

The more immediate future is less clear.

But Rodgers is content that Brown should not be hurried into what he does next.

“I have said it before that Scott will be afforded time in terms of making a decision about what he wants to do going forward,” said Rodgers. “And he deserves that time. So of course very much we want him to be here. But he has to at this period of his life and his career to be able to assess the options he has.

“He will be 34 at the end of this year… for some players, they can pick up a two or three year deal at that stage on big money and have an adventure for your family, you certainly have to look at it and weigh it up. He has been an incredible servant for the club. But I think he has earned that time to make his choice.

“I have spelt out to him how important he is here but I have also given him an unbiased look at it. Football is a very short career. I said the same thing to Craig Gordon. We sat down and had a look when Chelsea were keen to take him for good money on offer. ‘OK, this is what you could get at Chelsea, this is what you have here…’

“ They are old enough these guys to make their own decisions but I can speak to them openly and from both sides really.”