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Why Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City could be the perfect fit for each other

Drew Goodsell | 1 March 2019

Rodgers takes over Foxes helm from Claude Puel

After the 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace last Saturday, Leicester City decided to act quickly and dismiss boss Claude Puel.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening, and they’d acted equally as fast to name his successor. Former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers left his post with the Glaswegian side, and a chance to win the treble-treble in Scotland to deal with unfinished business in the Premier League.

The Northern Irishman had previously rejected advances from Chinese clubs, who were willing to offer him a lucrative contract, with only the Premier League seemingly able to draw Rodgers away from the Parkhead club.

Rodgers guided Liverpool to a second-place finish in 2013-14, despite having the title in their hands for much of the season.

The fall from grace with his Liverpool side followed, finishing 6th in the next campaign and being replaced by current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after a poor start to the 2015-16 season.

The job at the King Power Stadium isn’t as big as that as the post he held at Anfield, but Rodgers could be the perfect managerial fit for the Foxes, and here’s why…

Experience at the top

Rodgers brought Swansea City up from the Championship to the top tier after masterminding a win over former club Reading 4-2 in the 2011 play-off final. His first season in the Premier League with Swansea was also a success story.

Despite starting the season with a 4-0 thrashing away at Manchester City, Rodgers managed to steady the ship and achieve an 11th-place finish. During that campaign, his side picked up notable 1-0 wins at home to Manchester City and Liverpool, while also notching an impressive draw at Anfield and a home draw against Chelsea.

After his impressive start at Swansea, he left for Liverpool where he couldn’t win a trophy, but he got mighty close to taking the Reds back to a league title. The failure to secure the league seemed to have an adverse affect on everyone at the club, and it couldn’t be recovered.

The Reds started selling their stars and replacing with players that were unproven. Once the confidence started slipping away, Rodgers reign was always likely to end, despite a 50% win ratio. But it saw him eventually move north of the border to Celtic.

After almost three seasons in charge, he’d won all there was to win in Scottish domestic competitions, winning the treble in both of his full seasons and leaving the Hoops on a path to their third successive treble.

Development of youth

Rodgers has a reputation of giving top young talent a run in the side if he feels they’re good enough. Scott Sinclair was signed by Rodgers at Swansea, and made their focal point in the attack.

The Northern Irishman helped develop Sinclair so much, two years later, the English winger went on to sign for Premier League Champions Manchester City.

At Liverpool, Rodgers gave Raheem Sterling his debut and started easing him into becoming a first choice winger. He went on to form one third of the deadly trio that almost took Liverpool to the title, before eventually transferring to Manchester City for £44m.

Rodgers’ youth record at Celtic is impressive too. While most of the talent he’s had has come in on loan, he’s helped develop them into top stars of the future.

Patrick Roberts came on loan from Manchester City and flourished under Rodgers, attracting the attention of his parent club in his two year spell with the Hoops before being sent out on loan again to Girona.

Other notable youth prospects to have thrived under Rodgers are Filip Benkovic, on loan from Leicester, Oliver Burke, Odsonne Edouard and Kieran Tierney.

This plays into Rodgers hands at Leicester. They’ve got some of the best young players on their books and they’ll help shape the future of the football club.

James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray have all looked bright at times this season, but they need a manager that buys into the philosophy of playing youth players regularly. Luckily for them, Rodgers does, and it’ll massively further their development.

Attacking style of play

Foxes fans regularly complained about the style of play they saw from their side under former boss Puel. The defensive and slow play style wasn’t pretty to watch, and held back a number of their stars.

Brendan Rodgers likes his sides to play an attacking style, but also maintains a solid defence at the same time.  With Barnes and Gray out on the wings behind Jamie Vardy up front, the attacking style will suit the front line far more favourably than the Puel defensive style.

Maddison is all about finding tight gaps in the opposition midfield and defence, which he’ll be able to do if he’s pushed on further forward and doesn’t have to worry as much about defending.

It’s never a certainty that a manager will succeed, but Rodgers players the style of football the club and fans want to see, and helps younger players flourish. All the ingredients of success are there, can he make it work?

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