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You can't blame Lenny for eyeing a future EPL job.. even Jose wants to manage there; FORMER BOLTON BOSS ON WHY THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS THE PLACE TO BE Coyle: Quality is so high it's like having thrill of Champions League every week.


IF Jose Mourinho wants to return to the Barclays Premier League one day then Owen Coyle can't think of a good reason Neil Lennon wouldn't want to enjoy the same privilege.

And the man who once turned down his beloved Celtic so he could take Burnley up to what he describes as the best league in the world isn't surprised by Lennon's public declaration of intent.

Lennon made his innermost thoughts known to a wider audience in the immediate aftermath of taking Celtic into the last 16 of the Champions League.

But Coyle, born in the Gorbals and brought up to support Celtic, doesn't see why anyone should be upset by the timing of Lennon's remarks or the sentiments he's expressed.

And he'd advise anybody who does feel aggrieved to put their irritation on hold BECAUSE it's Coyle's belief Lennon still hasa long way to take the team he currentlymanages before taking a job in England.

" It was Record Sport who broke the newsCoyle had let his head rule his heart when" he declined Dermot Desmond's offer to goto Celtic Park three years ago.

DECISION And Coyle yesterday revealed the justification for making the decision he might one day have thought of as an impossibility.

He said: "The quality contained within the Premier League is incredible.

"It might be a ruthless and unforgiving environment for a manager to work in but no one can resist the allure of a job there.

Mourinho is the best manager Europe has produced over the past 10 years and even he says he'd leave Real Madrid behind and return to the scene of his successes with Chelsea if the offer was right.

"Who could blame Neil if he feels the same way some time in the future? "But what the Celtic fans should appreciate in the meantime is they have a man in charge who is deeply committed to their club.

"And what's gone on in Europe this season has been further proof that Celtichave a manager who is giving everything to his job."

Coyle has worked as a television analyst covering four of the group stage games which carried Celtic into the last 16 of the Champions League.

A feat which has made the club PS23million in the process and built up reserves of cash which could maintain their supremacy within Scottish football for years to come.

But momentum has meant more than money to Coyle's managerial eye. He said: "I was at the games against Barcelona on a home and away basis, plus the match with Benfica in Lisbon and the group clincher against Spartak Moscow at Celtic Park.

"What I saw was a young, progressive team who had discipline, organisation and knew the roles they had to play.

"They started by dipping their toes in the water when they drew at home to Benfica and they finished with a big splash."

The trouble is being a big fish in a small pond can ultimately lead to a manager wondering if he could handle life among piranhas in more hostile waters.

And Lennon's sense of curiosity is no less keenly developed than anybody else in his position. Coyle said: "Lenny's played down south with Leicester in the Premier League and knows it's the best club competition in the world.

"The excitement he's experienced in Europe with Celtic is a weekly occurrence in the Premier League. Anybody and everybody would have to understand why he might want to be there one day.

HEROIC "But he's a short distance into a long-term plan with Celtic and will know he can improve the team he's got and take them even further than they've already gone.

"People used to talk about Celtic's hoodoo on the road when they played in European competition and that's been well and truly smashed under Neil. Then they said the last night of Group G, with Barcelona at home to Benfica and Celtic needing to better the Portuguese side's result in the Nou Camp, had all the makings of another story of heroic failure from a Scottish team.

"That theory was shot to smithereens as well. I worked for five years in English football and know how negative people can be about Scottish football.

"But why does that have to be the case when Neil produces a team with a real spine who know all about punching above their weight?" Coyle sees Lennon as being part of a formidable structure which will delay his departure for England. He said: "The club has a conveyor belt of superb talent and so much credit has to go to the chief scout, John Park, for that state of affairs.

"Ki Sung-Yueng has already been sold to Swansea for a fortune compared to the money it took to get him and Victor Wanyama could go too. Adam Matthews looks terrific and they got him for a song.

"The players showed how much they have bought into what the manager's trying to do when they beat Spartak in Moscow. That gave them belief and a team started to evolve that night.

"There's no doubt the European adventure was a big distraction for those players but now qualification has been achieved they'll start to open a gap at the top of the SPL. And they'll do so under a management team who've also improved by leaps and bounds."

And the improvement won't have gone unnoticed in the country where Lennon believes his future will lie one day.


POWER SERG J City's Sergio Aguero

HAIL BALE J Spurs' Gareth Bale

G-FORCE J Steven Gerrard of Liverpool

ROO GOOD J Utd's Wayne Rooney

FIRST WITH Z THE NEWS We told you when Coyle said no

IF IT'S GOOD Z ENOUGH FOR JOSE Mourinho wants back to England so why shouldn't Lennon follow
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 11, 2012
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