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SHOULD BRENDAN RODGERS SWAP CELTIC FOR LEICESTER?
Reports today claim that Brendan Rodgers has been lined up as the next Leicester City boss should they decide to axe Claude Puel over the coming weeks.
The Foxes are enjoying a steady-yet-inconsistent season, sitting in eighth and just one point off the final European place, currently occupied by Watford. However, despite their lofty league position, fans aren’t happy with current boss Claude Puel and his style of play.
But does Brendan Rodgers suit what the Foxes are looking for? Is he the right man to replace Claude Puel should the Frenchman leave? And should Rodgers swap Glasgow for the East Midlands?
The first question to ask here is whether Brendan Rodgers actually has the credentials to be the manager of a Premier League-winning club.
It probably depends who you ask, but he seems to have what it takes to be given an opportunity of this magnitude.
He has faced criticism over his time at Liverpool with many saying he should have finished the job with the players at his disposal.
However, he certainly did well to get into that position and it’s fair to say that some of the incidents that cost Liverpool that title were beyond his control.
Beyond that, he did superbly with Swansea City, securing them promotion to the Premier League and then establishing them as a top-flight club in his first season since promotion.
Fast-forward a little to Celtic, and he’s also enjoyed a successful time of things in Glasgow, winning three Scottish League Cup three times and the Scottish Cup and League Title twice, once in each of his season’s so far.
This campaign is proving a little more difficult, but they are just ahead of Rangers as things stand, so Celtic are on course for another title, albeit by the skin of their teeth.
All in all, Rodgers is surely qualified enough for this job having gathered sufficient experience. He’s impressed many in the way that he’s gone to Scotland to prove himself again, to collect more experience.
He’s also impressed with his style of play at Celtic Park, becoming a much-loved figure by those in Green.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH PUEL?
Leicester City fans just can’t get on with Claude Puel. This is a club used to a direct style of football. They won the league with a very direct style, being solid at the back and countering with quick wingers and an ultra-quick striker who plays off the shoulder.
Even when you go back to Nigel Pearson’s days in the Championship, this is a club that played with two up top, a largely direct and attacking brand of football with Steve Howard and Matty Fryatt offering the now old fashioned big-man, little-man combination.
They still have Jamie Vardy, of course, and fans still want to see him playing off the shoulder. At the moment, he’s limited to touches within Claude Puel’s side, and that’s an issue. Not basing your game plan around Jamie Vardy is not playing to your strengths.
Leicester are often playing with two holding midfielders, and that tells you a lot about Claude Puel’s style by itself.
Now, he hasn’t been unsuccessful as such. Until last week, Leicester were in seventh position, which is probably the best they could have hoped for this season.
However, with his style of football and tactical decision-making going down like a lead balloon at the King Power Stadium, it only seems like a matter of time until the Frenchman is shown the door.
Unfortunately for Puel, this just seems like a bad marriage, a bad pairing.
IS RODGERS THE RIGHT MAN, AND SHOULD HE LEAVE CELTIC?
Whether Celtic fans like it or not, the Scottish Premiership is hardly the promised land, especially not for ambitious managers and players.
Brendan Rodgers has done a fine job at Celtic Park, but it’s inevitable that he moves on at some point to attempt to further improve his growing CV.
He’ll want another crack at the Premier League and Leicester would be a fine opportunity. It’s still a growing club, they have solid financial backing and a terrific fan-base. It seems hard to believe that Rodgers would turn down an opportunity like this one, and it seems the worst case would be that he makes the Foxes wait until the end of the season, rather than leaving Celtic short in a difficult point in the campaign.
As for Leicester and whether they offer Rodgers the job, they should tread carefully.
They can’t afford to get this wrong again, to pick a bad pairing, someone who doesn’t suit the football the supporters like to see.
Rodgers doesn’t offer all-out attacking football. From his Swansea days, he was known for playing a slow build-up, a pass-orientated system, something Leicester fans would likely find hard to get used to.
At Liverpool, things were a little different. He had one of the best strikers in the world at the time in Luis Suarez, and he had to play to his strengths. Though, it’s also worth noting that Liverpool had an awful defence that year.
At Celtic, he has gone back to that pass-based style, suggesting that’s where his core beliefs lie.
So, Leicester must be careful. They must gauge whether fans will enjoy this style of football, because if Puel does go, they need to put smiles back on faces.
There’s no doubting that Rodgers is now a hot-property, and many do find his football very attractive – you’ll find few complaints of his work in Swansea or the green half of Glasgow.
However, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and his team must ensure this is what the fans of Leicester City want to see at the King Power, and they must make sure Brendan Rodgers is willing to cater for their desires to see that counter attacking, more direct style of play.
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