Brendan Rodgers believes Eboue Kouassi can ultimately fill Scott Brown’s shoes at Celtic, but believes that the 20-year-old may need to head out on loan in order to get first-team football.

While the Hoops boss ultimately believes that the Ivorian midfielder is capable of filling Brown’s boots, it is the current Celtic skipper who has blocked his path to the first-team.

The form of Brown has been a large part of the reason why Eboue has so far made just 9 appearances to date after signing from Russian side FK Krasnodar in a £3m move last January.

“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.

“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 had a difficult start at Celtic after being hospitalised with malaria when he had just arrived in the country. From that he found himself having to adapt to a new culture and style of football before then succumbing to further injury set-backs.

For Rodgers, though, the player is one that he believes can go on to have a big future at Celtic.

The likes of Kristoffer Ajer, who has risen to prominence in recent weeks and Callum McGregor have gone out on loan in order to get the game time required to stake a claim at Celtic.

And with exposure to regular competitive football, Rodgers believes Celtic will get Eboue back on track.

“Eboue had an unfortunate start as he had a difficult first six months,” said the Hoops boss. “He came in and was ill. He was adapting to a new country and new language. He didn’t need to adapt to the cold as he was out in Siberia!

“But it was about adapting and playing. He had the malaria when he arrive but worked hard and virtually had no time off in the summer.

“He looked great in pre-season training but the 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.”

Similarly, Kundai Benyu is also expected to head out of the door for the same reasons this month.

The 20-year-old has made just four appearances for Celtic, although he was a player signed as part of the development squad at the club.

However, like Eboue, it is one where Rodgers believes the player needs to be playing in order to develop.

The Celtic manager has also insisted in previous interviews that he prefers to work with a trim squad rather than one that is too heavy with players.

While players been farmed out on loan would aid their progress, it would also create a smaller squad for the Hoops boss to work with at Lennoxtown.

‘Benyi is one we’ll gauge,” he said. “We brought him in as a development player but he showed up really well in pre-season. 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.”