NILS Arne Eggen is the Godfather of Norwegian football and Ronny Deila is one of his discip- les. Rosenborg won the top flight 11 years running and qualified for the Champions League group stage eight years in a row under the 73-year-old and now Eggen wonders if his countryman can establish a similar dynasty at Celtic.

While Deila embarks on the twin challenge of securing his second SPFL Premiership title and steering the Parkhead club back into Europe, Eggen is taking it easy. After a recent operation in which he received a kidney from his daughter, his professional contribution to football these days is limited to an advisory role to Rosenborg’s raft of coaches, including boss Kare Ingebrigtsen.

He dreams of a return to glory for the Trondheim club, who sit top of the Norwegian league. But Eggen was name-checked by Deila when he lifted his maiden SPFL title and clearly the respect is mutual. While the two men no longer speak as regularly as they used to, Eggen watches Celtic often on Norwegian TV and recognises key elements of the blueprint which he and Deila discussed over the years.

“I was glad to hear that [Deila citing him as an inspiration],” said Eggen. “I have always said that Ronny is not only a talent but has the background and knowledge to be a top coach and manager in Europe. At Celtic he is proving that. I am sure he can go on to become one of the most successful Norwegian managers. He has a very cold, analytical, way of going about things. He knows what he wants, he knows how to get a good team, you just need to give him more time and, hopefully, Celtic and Scotland can get back to the top of football again.

“I remember him first of all as a player. He was playing for Odd Grenland in Norway and was a very tactical stopper with an excellent right foot. Rosenborg played in Europe for almost 13 seasons during that period, when he was a player, or just beginning as a coach, and he took inspiration from that.

“We had several conversations about football during that period and he has adapted many of my principles to make a good team.

“In my opinion, 4-3-3 is the most efficient and flexible formation to have an attacking team. For me, it was inspired by Rinus Michels in the Netherlands. I went to see him twice at the beginning of 1970, which is a very long time ago. One of his principles was that attackers should always be moving towards the goals, rather than towards the corner flag, which is sometimes the case with 4-4-2. You can’t score from there. I have seen all the best teams in Europe and even in South America, and they all play some sort of 4-3-3 now.

“Since he has gone to Celtic we have spoken in some seminars but not very often. But even for the last two years when Ronny was in Stromsgodset we seldom met each other. I hope he has all the success and will be able to follow my exploits in Europe. But I am not playing a big role in Ronny’s development. He does that himself. I am just an early inspiration, I think.”

The main problem, both for Deila and for Rosenborg, is how quickly the football world has turned with the major continental clubs, many of them English, colonising the world’s best football talent, paying them obscene money in order to recoup even more themselves. It has had a ruinous effect on the aspirations of clubs such as Rosen- borg and Celtic, and places even greater onus on having to rear your own talent. Over the decades, Eggen was able to build a team around seasoned Champions League performers such as Andre Bergdolmo, Erik Hoftun, Roar Strand and Harald Brattbakk.

“You have five to 10 teams there,” said Eggen. “When you talk about capitalism in football, I use the term that they have stolen the game. They have ruined it. They don’t have to develop players, they just buy them, they ruin football with what they pay, millions and millions for ordinary players. It is idiotic. I like football, but I like it when you can develop players, not just buy them.

“Of course you need to clean up Fifa but changes also have to happen in Uefa, to have a fair competition, not a competition about who can make the most money. I will fight for that as long as I live.

“So how do you combat that? Well, you always have to think longer than just one season, trust that you are able to build a team. At Rosenborg now, in every match we play six players who have come from our own academy. Celtic also have to buy players, of course, but the main way is to build a team, with the mental structures that evolve to win together. That is the main reason why Rosenborg did so well. You must trust in your own skill to develop players and create teams.”

That is where one other tangible recent connection between the two clubs comes in. Liam Henderson, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder loaned from Celtic to Rosenborg in March, is regarded as one of the finest young Scottish players in this league, but despite three goals in a fast start for the Norwegian club, he returned to Glasgow without a solitary start in a league match and Eggen says he didn’t feel he was physically capable of starting a match for them.

“I think he missed Glasgow a bit. He started very well but, for what we call our running type of midfielders, for me he was a little too slow to play there. He is still young and has potential to develop but it is difficult for a young player when you are all alone at Rosenborg and you are not playing every match. He wasn’t good enough to have a secure role in the team. Normally he could play a high level of 10 minutes but that isn’t good for an 18-year-old boy.”