BRENDAN Rodgers insisted Callum McGregor could still play in the English Premier League.

The midfielder signed a long-term deal at Celtic this week, a reward from his outstanding form over the last 18 months.

McGregor has been linked with Bournemouth and Rodgers admitted that one of his favourite players might still one day fancy a crack at football's richest league.

But only when he's finished with Celtic.

Rodgers said: "Callum can operate at English Premier League level. He’s shown it against the best teams in Europe where he’s played very well so there’s no question he’s of that ilk so it’s a great signing for the club.

“Players are within their rights to look at things. Your career is short and sometimes you feel you want to take on a different challenge. Each player is different.

“I would never say Stuart Armstrong was wrong to jump in and play in the Premier League and James Forrest, Kieran Tierney or Callum staying is the right thing to do - it’s individual choice.

“But these boys have come through the system and know what they have and feel as if they are still developing and growing and they know there is still time for that.

“Callum is 25 so if he wanted to play in the Premier League in the next couple of years he can still do that but while he’s developing, winning and happy. For the club it’s about securing the talents and his development over these last couple of years has been fantastic see the technical level he plays at.

“He’s got a wonderful insight of the game and becoming a really influential player. When he plays further up he’s a threat to the goal, at left back he gives us that tactical flexibility and when he plays as a controlling player he shifts the game very quickly.

“It’s great news for him and he’s been rewarded for consistent displays at a high level and it’s great news for the club to secure a great talent."

During Rodgers's two and a half years at Celtic, 20 a grand total of 20 players have signed long-term contracts.

The manager said: "We’re at a really exciting era here and it’s a special time at the club that has gone really quickly. It didn’t seem that long ago I was presenting Scott Brown with his ‘400’ jersey and very quickly it was ‘500’.

“The games come quick and fast but that roll of honour the players are rolling out in terms of titles and performances has been amazing and it’s great Callum feels the continuation of that is there.

“He’s at a great age to improve. Kieran Tierney, James Forrest are all boys who are improving and the beauty is they improve because they train every day and the availability to train helps them get better and better.

“They take that confidence into games and winning titles is great for them. I’ll always fight for players and staff for their value and worth.

“The club are also protecting their assets. The contracts will be at a certain time and the club then look to activate that and ask my feeling on it.

“It’s not rocket science but it’s nice that a lot of these guys feel improvement and development and that the future of the club is exciting for them."