Brendan Rodgers has revealed he tried to delay Raheem Sterling’s new contract as long as possible when the pair were at Liverpool.
In an interview the the Daily Record, Rodgers describes the importance of keeping young players grounded, especially with so much money around in the modern game.
And the Celtic boss was speaking about Sterling’s time at Anfield and admitted he tried to put the brakes on the England man’s lucrative new deal.
Rodgers said: “There is one common denominator when it comes to young players falling by the wayside – money. It distorts reality. It changes people.
“I’m always cautious of that. I had Raheem Sterling playing for England and a regular in the Liverpool first team on £2000 per week.
“I couldn’t do it any longer than about the November time because he was absolutely brilliant, so we had to get him on a different contract. But I stretched it out as long as I could.
“With young players, one, they have to earn it and, two, you don’t go overboard with them because they have played a couple of good games.
“Stay calm. See how consistent and professional they are, and if they are doing well they will always get rewarded. Let them get some games in their legs and go from there.”
Sterling, now at Manchester City, signed a new five-year deal at Anfield in December 2012 – a deal which launched his pay from £2,000 a week to £40,000 a week.
The Celtic boss, who won the Treble last season, claims he keeps his young Celtic players under very close scrutiny. The Parkhead club have an excellent record of bringing youth players through into the first team, but Rodgers stressed the importance of keeping them in check.
Rodgers added: “You have to be careful with young players. I say to them here that it’s very easy to walk around with the Louis Vuitton soap bag.
“But when you walk out of here, don’t tell people you play for Celtic. No, you are training with Celtic. You are playing for Celtic when you are in the first team.
“Lots of young players these days look good, they smell nice, but they don’t put the work in. They don’t play. It’s about working to play for the first team.
“Thankfully with Tony (Ralston) and the likes, he’s not that type.”