Brendan Rodgers considers the Manager of the Year accolade he collected earlier this week to be a symbolic reward for the work he has undertaken during his entire career as a football coach.

In just his second season at the helm of Liverpool, the Northern Irishman guided his team to a remarkable second-place finish in the Barclays Premier League, just two points from top spot.

Rodgers' charges achieved their primary objective of qualifying for the Champions League by playing a relentless style of football which drew plaudits from around the country and the wider world.

The contribution of the 41-year-old was acknowledged by his peers on Monday night, when the Reds boss was announced as the recipient of the League Managers Association's prestigious prize.

Decided by the votes of every LMA manager - including those of all 92 professional league clubs in England - Rodgers became the first leader of Liverpool to be honoured with the individual award.

"I was extremely proud, as you can imagine," he told in an exclusive interview following the ceremony in London. "I was very honoured to pick up the award.

"I have been a manager for about five years and I remember going to my first LMA awards, and seeing the great names that had won the award in the past.

"You always hope that one day you have done a job worthy of all your peers. It's similar to the players' award really; the biggest compliment you can get is from the people in your own industry."

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The boss continued: "When I started out as a young coach nearly 20 years ago, my objectives were simple - I wanted to make people better, I wanted to help them in their life, football and social life.

"How could I help them become better? My other objective was to earn respect; I never had a big career as a footballer of note so I knew I was going to be on a different pathway to most managers and coaches. I didn't need to be liked. My only concern was that I could be respected for my work.

"The award the other night went a long way to when I first started 20 years ago, as a symbol of the respect - because every manager across all the divisions has to make a vote.

"I was very proud that they voted for me and my work at Liverpool."

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