It looks certain now that Brendan Rodgers will make his long-awaited return to the Premier League after Celtic gave Leicester permission to speak to the Northern Irishman. The 46-year-old has been north of the border for over three years now managing the Scottish champions, but he obviously feels the time is right to head south and begin managing in the world’s most competitive league again.
Brendan Rodgers @ Celtic
It really has been an extraordinarily successful time for Rodgers at Celtic Park after winning seven trophies in a row. Rodgers will leave Glasgow with the Hoops looking for their third treble on the bounce under his leadership, which all things considered, is quite staggering. There’s no doubt Rangers’ financial meltdown and subsequent battle to get back to the top of Scottish football has played directly into Rodgers’ hands, but history will remember him as one of the Bhoys’ finest-ever managers.
Many will be asking why he has decided to leave for Leicester City, but after little thought, it becomes abundantly clear. It wouldn’t be quite fair to say that managing Celtic in the SPL is like shooting fish in a barrel, but it wouldn’t be far off that, especially when you consider in Rodgers’ first season, Celtic didn’t lose a game during the 2016/2017 campaign and ended on a record 106 points. The nearest competitor was Aberdeen, a startling 30 points behind on 76.
Brendan Rodgers is a very talented manager and anyone who chooses to leave the comfort of the SPL for the dogfight of the Premier League is naturally very ambitious as well. There does come a time, though, where there isn’t anything left to win, and when you consider that the Celtic board didn’t necessarily back him last summer, it becomes plainly obvious that he was intent on hitting the road once a better offer came in for him, which it was always going to.
The Foxes move
The Foxes have sniffed him out, and it looks the ideal job for the 46-year-old as he finds his feet in the Premier League again. The current crop of players at Leicester will give Rodgers more than enough to work with in a bid to crack the top eight and possibly even top six, depending on how quickly he hits the ground running. As it stands, the Foxes are on an awful run that hasn’t seen them win since New Year’s day, and it’s easy to see why the Leicester City board became jumpy, which ultimately ended in Claude Puel’s sacking.
Puel did pay for the Foxes poor run of form, but a change in manager often brings a miraculous change in fortunes, which is why it’s not uncommon to see the pros predicting a win in their Premier League betting tips for a team that has just lost its manager. For example, the Foxes were backed by the pros to put their recent woes to an end and enjoy the unexplained phenomenon that a change in manager brings by beating Brighton at odds of 10/11. Brendan Rodgers may not have been in the dugout for this game, but a stand-in manager can be enough to boost the odds in a team’s favour, even while in the midst of what seems like a catastrophic run of results.
There will be a great deal of excitement in Leicester about Rodgers’ appointment, with much of this based on the Northern Irishman’s style of play, given that one of the biggest criticisms of Claude Puel was the negative brand of football that he brought to the King Power. The long punts and backward passes will now be substituted for slick passing football that starts at the feet of the goalkeeper.
Better times are on the horizon for Leicester with Rodgers’ appointment imminent, and it’s worth taking note that the former Liverpool boss isn’t the same manager that left the Premier League in 2015. Rodgers returns as a far more streamlined version of himself, with a new set of skills that will make the Foxes no longer the hunted, but now the hunter.