CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers is set to offer midfielder Eboue Kouassi the opportunity to go out on loan in a bid to get some much-needed game time. 

Citing the form of Celtic captain Scott Brown as the reason why Eboue has not been exposed to the first-team thus far, Rodgers has acknowledged that the the 20-year-old Ivorian needs to be playing football in order to continue his development.

The player joined Celtic in a £3m move from Russian side FC Krasnodar last January but he has been a peripheral figure, with just nine appearances for the Parkhead side. 

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Ultimately, Rodgers’ vision for Eboue is as successor to Brown but his immediate need is for competitive football. 

“Eboue was brought in and he plays a specific role,” said Rodgers. “The Scott Brown role. It just so happens to be the captain, who’s been brilliant.

“It’s been difficult. Browny is one I’ve taken out the odd time and got Eboue in but there’s no doubt he hasn’t played a number of games.

“It’s not because of him, it’s because of the form of our captain.

“Eboue’s one who is brilliant in training, he does everything, and longer term he will certainly fulfil that role when Scott moves on.

“But while we wait for that, we need to ensure Eboue is developing and improving. That might mean game time in the second part of the season.

“He needs to be playing. We’ll see in January but you need to weigh it up.

“It’s a bit like Kris Ajer last season. We can keep him about the squad but he might not play so much. If he goes out and plays it will improve him.

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“Ryan Christie is another example. Do you keep him around the periphery, or do I send him out to Aberdeen to Derek, where he had a nice six months.

“In Eboue’s case, I’m not sure of the benefits of being around if he’s not going to play so much.

“Does he go and play 20 odd games somewhere in the second half of the season and then come back in the summer?”

Eboue’s inauspicious start to his Celtic career put him on the back foot, while further injuries have hindered any fluency. 

“He had malaria when he arrived but worked hard and virtually had no time off in the summer,” said Rodgers.

“He looked great in pre-season training but then got injured before we set off for Austria.

“He was out for a good few weeks but came back and looked really well. He played well against Sunderland and Lyon.

“You can clearly see the talent he has, but he’s a specific type of player, a defensive midfielder. He’s a fantastic player but it’s one we need to think about.”

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Among others who will be expected to head out in the coming weeks is 19-year-old Kendai Benyu. 

“We brought him in as a development player but he showed up really well in pre-season,” said Rodgers. “It’s one, do we stick him out on loan, even though he’s just here, or do we give him six month to get a feel for Celtic, the size of the club, the demands, and the training? He’s had all of that, with some first-team experiences. He’s a good kid, but he also needs to play.”

The perennial speculation regarding the future of Moussa Dembele, Celtic’s 20-year-old French striker, has unfazed Rodgers. Brighton have reportedly tried to suss out whether a move there would appeal to the player before tabling a formal offer while Stoke, Everton and West Ham have also been credited with an interest in the player.

Dembele’s languid stroll off the pitch during the weekend draw against Rangers as he applauded all sections of the stadium before heading up the tunnel invited further queries on the player’s future.

In any case, Rodgers has maintained that Celtic are relaxed about what may come next. 

“There’s always speculation,” said Rodgers. “With Moussa we are getting to that stage where there will be a different team every day.

“That’s the way it is. If you look at the Premier League though, their window has changed in the summer and it will close early.

“That puts them under pressure.”