An analysis of Brendan Rodgers’ career in management and whether or not Leicester should pursue the Northern Irishman
Brendan Rodgers can’t seem to shake the David Brent/Alan Partridge comparisons – and rather unfairly. Regardless of an eccentric, somewhat comical, personality, the Northern Irishman has proven an astute tactician and gets overlooked rather too swiftly whenever a top Premier League job pops up.
Rodgers’ feats in management
During Rodgers’ formative years in management, he regularly spent weekends in Barcelona, analyzing youth and senior team matches. He had a clear vision of how the game should be played and his possession based style was embodied by Swansea City.
After comfortably guiding the Swans to promotion, his side finished in 11th position in the top division – a remarkable achievement for a club with such limited resources – and ended the campaign with league’s third highest possession stats (56%). Naturally, a bigger club swooped in, and Rodgers took the helm at Liverpool.
Off the back of seventh and eighth place finishes, nothing much was expected of The Reds at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign. But Rodgers, who spent a couple of years working under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, proved much more than just a tika-tika merchant.
The manager switched to two up front to accommodate both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and, after picking up on Steven Gerrard’s poor head movement in congested areas, deployed the captain in a deeper Pirlo type role.
Rodgers went against his principles, and sideways passes turned into vertical long balls launched by Gerrard’s right boot. Liverpool’s new counter attacking style was devastatingly effective and an 11 game winning streak took them from fifth all the way to first.
But just as Rodgers was a little too invested in Swansea’s tika-taka manifesto, he got a little carried away with Liverpool’s gung-ho approach. A draw would have sufficed in the infamous encounter with Chelsea; while, shutting up shop when 3-0 up against Crystal Palace could have at least kept title race alive until the final day.
After his time in Merseyside, it seemed a wise decision to move north of the border and get a taste of winning some silverware.
Playing some tantalizing stuff, Celtic won the Scottish Premier League, Cup, and League Cup in both of his first two seasons. Their name is already engraved on the League Cup this campaign, with the other two domestic honors expected to follow.
Should he join Leicester?
Leicester has the bones of a quality side. There are some Rodgers type players in the current crop such as James Maddison and Harry Maguire; while he would relish the chance to work with Jamie Vardy and get the likes of Demarai Gray firing. It’s also a decent time for a manager to arrive as he could draft in a couple of fresh faces (Callum Mcgregor and James Forrest already being mentioned) before the window shuts.
Unsurprisingly, Rodgers claimed he was focused on his current position ahead of Celtic’s Cup tie against Airdrie, but did drop in that he thought Leicester was a ‘fantastic club.’
If Leicester does cut ties with Claude Puel, the King Power patrons would seek some excitement after the Frenchman’s soporific reign. Rodgers would certainly restore some animation around the place; and could very well be the man to meet the club’s almost unrealistic expectations.
Rodgers has shown to be tactically savvy and adaptable in the past, and is certainly getting used to the taste of champagne after a successful stint in Scotland. He is far from just one trick pony and would return to England with a point to prove.