Leicester City confirmed the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as their new manager following the dismissal of Frenchman Claude Puel. But does he have something to prove? You can bet on the Premier league here.
The Northern Irishman unceremoniously left Liverpool in 2015 after three eventful years where he nearly led the Reds to their holy grail of a Premier League title in 2014 but fell short. In 2015, after a run of poor results, he was axed. However, that wasn’t the end of his journey in his management career. In fact, it seemed that it was just the beginning. He went on to join Celtic where he let them to a back-to-back clean sweep of the domestic titles.
However, he left Celtic who were on the brink of another league title. Whether or not they clinch the title this season, Rodgers should leave Celtic Park a legend. Despite his unparalleled success in the domestic front, his tenure will always be overshadowed by lack of progression in Europe’s elite competition, the Champions League.
As his stint at the King Power sets about, how much does the 46-year-old have to prove? Why did he leave Celtic with just 14 games away from another potential domestic treble? Rodgers accomplished a great deal in Scotland and returns with unfinished business in England.
Leicester City offers him a challenge. Of course, he would not be expected to deliver another fairytale season where the team wins another Premier League title. A challenge to make something out of a team that seemingly underachieved under his predecessor Puel.
While the Celts and Rodgers blew away their opponents in the last two and a half seasons, the Premier League is a completely different stratosphere for Rodgers and he knows it. The ‘top six’ have been dominant for the last few seasons. Thirteen points separate sixth and seventh and Rodgers will be expected to aim for that seventh spot.
He performed dismally in Europe. Out of 22 European matches he mustered only five wins. Even with his team playing free-flowing attacking football, Celtic were vulnerable defensively. How will he improve that at Leicester? Will he adopt effective pragmatism in some games or he will stick by his guns.
Moreover, Liverpool’s memorable collapse in the 2013/2014 season, perfectly epitomized by the Steven Gerrard slip, has always followed him. Concerns still linger if he can carry the team over whether in cup competitions or in situations where his team needs inspiration during rough patches in the league.
Although Rodgers has been lauded for overseeing the development of some of the players in the academy at Celtic, a lack of trust in the academy players and often relying on exorbitant loan deals has been eminent. Still, he has a track record of trust in youth. He has overseen the development of the likes of Joe Allen, Ben Davies, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson Moussa Dembele and Kieran Tierney at Celtic. Leicester City, a team that prides itself in promoting youth will feel safe in the hands of the former Chelsea youth coach.
His recognition of expansive football is widely known. However, Leicester’s last victories in the league before Brighton came against Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton. These victories were achieved by a dogged defensive approach. Nevertheless, their results at home against lesser opponents were strange. They had more possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Will Rodgers’ philosophy change that?
Rodgers definitely has a lot to prove as he begins his tenure. The Foxes should expect fluid and free-flowing football, lots of goals and entertainment. Winning the league is beyond the bounds of possibility given the gulf in class between them and the ‘top six’ at the moment, but they will see that seventh position which comes with a spot in the Europa league there for the taking.