As Leicester continue to prepare for yet another top four face in the final stretch of the season, there is plenty of talk around the players that have got them there.
Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Kasper Schmeichel, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison are the spine of a side that have managed to break into the so-called ‘big six’ for two consecutive seasons and are challenging once again to get into Europe’s premiere club competition.
Talent only gets you so far in football though, and therefore a lot credit must go to the manager too – Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers came into the game as an assistant coach at Chelsea to Jose Mourinho and has since gone on to become one of the best coaches in the Premier League.
He was excellent at Watford, Reading and Swansea as he entered the Premier League for the time and then moved on to the biggest job of his career to date, Liverpool.
Rodgers took a largely inexperienced squad, filled it with hungry, young talent merged with solid defensive players and was able to draft together a system to pushed them to within a Steven Gerrard slip from the Premier League title.
While it quickly came down and he was sacked, he moved on to Celtic and continued his good coaching performances as he led them to unprecedented success during his tenure in Scotland. During his two-and-a-half seasons at the club, Rodgers led the Bhoys to back-to-back trebles and a third would’ve followed had he not up and left for Leicester in the middle of the campaign.
Since joining Leicester in February 2019, Rodgers has overseen two full seasons with the club once this year ends. Last year they narrowly missed out on the top four following a collapse post-COVID break, culminating in a final day defeat to Manchester United to see them drop out.
This year though, they have bounced back from that disappointment to be right back in the race once more. As it stands they currently sit in third place in the table with six games to play, seven points off second placed Manchester United and four points clear of fifth place West Ham United.
They’ve also reached their first FA Cup final since 1969 and Rodgers has the chance to win the competition for the first time ever when they face Chelsea in the final in May.
But aside from all the milestones and achievements, if you look a bit deeper into it he seems to do everything properly at every club.
He integrates youth players when he believes they’re good enough, he plays attacking football, he is flexible tactically, he has a great eye for talent in the transfer market and he is adaptable when it comes to systems to get the best out of his players.
Add to that with the fact he is very good with the media, calm under pressure and says all the right things to get fans on side, he is among the gold standard of coaches in the Premier League now.
His chance at Liverpool came too early. He stepped up to a club in transition from a team fighting relegation and managed to get them competing at the highest level domestically, but couldn’t stabilise it after it went spiralling out of control following that.
He’s clearly now learnt how to stabilise a ship after disappointment as he has done with Leicester and it is surely now the right time to see him back in the hot seat at one of the top clubs in the country.
Spurs are now in the hunt for a new manager, but Rodgers has denied that he is interested in taking the role and rightly so. As it stands, both Spurs and Leicester are in very similar positions. Neither have won a trophy in a long time and they are the outsiders when it comes to making the Champions League places. While one are considered to be part of a ‘big six’ one has won the Premier League title and the move would just be sideways at best for Rodgers.
A return to Liverpool once Jurgen Klopp eventually leaves seems unlikely, while Manchester City likely have plans in place already for who they want to replace Pep Guardiola with once he leaves, but clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea could do much worse than look to him to take over if the current project falls on it’s face.
Right now, Rodgers is doing a perfect job at the King Power and doesn’t need to leave immediately to do it. But at some point the opportunity will come along, whether it be in the Premier League or Europe and it will be fully deserved.