Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths to take break from football to seek help for personal issue, says manager Brendan Rodgers

Glasgow: Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is taking a break from football as he seeks help for ongoing personal issues, Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers revealed on Wednesday.

File image of Leigh Griffiths. Reuters

File image of Leigh Griffiths. Reuters

Griffiths has endured a difficult season marred by injury problems, but Rodgers said the Scotland international's decision to step away from the sport was prompted by off-field troubles.

The 28-year-old is widely reported to have entered a treatment facility to deal with a gambling addiction.

"Leigh will be taken out of football now for a little period of time," Rodgers told reporters, adding, "Leigh has had ongoing issues now for a number of months and he has done amazing to play to the level and score some of the goals he has."

"But he has reached the point where it is a struggle for him and we are going to give him all the professional help that he possibly needs to get himself into a good place again," said Rodgers.

Griffiths came off the bench in Celtic's 5-1 Scottish Premiership win over Kilmarnock at the weekend, but he missed training on Wednesday and is out of the Europa League Group B clash with Salzburg on Thursday.

Asked if it was more than a physical injury, Rodgers said, "yes it has been ongoing in my time here with Leigh. I am very close with him, we have a very strong relationship and he has had a number of issues around outside of the football environment and thankfully for him, there is great support out there and it is no longer a weakness now to talk."

Although he has scored only six goals this season, the absence of the experienced Griffiths will be a blow to Celtic as they bid to retain the Scottish title.

Rodgers' side are two points clear of second-placed Rangers and face their Old Firm rivals in a crucial clash on 29 December.

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2018 23:40:01 IST

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