Brendan Rodgers excited by ‘huge potential’ at Leicester

New Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes he is taking over a squad with “huge potential”.

The 46-year-old has signed a deal until June 2022 after compensation was agreed with Celtic.

And Rodgers, who replaces Claude Puel after the Frenchman was sacked on Sunday with the 2016 champions 12th in the Premier League, is relishing the chance to work with the Foxes players.

The Northern Irishman, who received a warm reception from the fans at the King Power Stadium as he watched his new side’s Premier League match with Brighton from the stands on Tuesday night, told LCFC TV: “Of course, the big attraction for me is working with the players.

“It’s a young squad, a very dynamic squad, it’s got huge potential and you’ve got some of the players with good experience also.

“It feels great. I know I’m joining a fantastic club that has grown so quickly over these last few years.

“I’m just delighted to be here. I think there was a number of reasons (why I joined). I was certainly in no hurry to leave Celtic. Celtic is a club that’s a huge club worldwide, a renowned club, and I loved working with the players there.

“We were on a journey of great success over these last years, but, when the opportunity came to talk to Leicester and I was able to analyse it, it allowed me to think that I’d probably achieved and taken the club maybe at Celtic as far as I could at this moment.”

Brendan Rodgers waves to the Leicester fans after being appointed as the club's new manager
Brendan Rodgers waves to the Leicester fans after being appointed as the club’s new manager (Nigel French/PA)

Rodgers admits he is taking over at an awkward time of the season, one that has seen Leicester have to come to terms with the death of their owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash in October.

He added: “Coming into the club at this point of the season, it’s never normally ideal, but it gives me the chance to observe and analyse the players over this last period of games.

“I know it’s been a really difficult season for the club on and off the pitch. It’s been really emotional in many ways.

“For me it’s the case of just trying to stabilise the emotion of everything that’s happened this season and looking to inspire the players so that they can then inspire the supporters.”

Rodgers, who will take charge of the Foxes for the first time when they face Watford on Sunday, with caretaker Mike Stowell in the dugout for the Brighton clash, ends his stay at Celtic after nearly three years having won seven trophies.

He won successive Scottish Premiership titles in 2017 and 2018 and also won the Scottish Cup twice and the Betfred Cup three times.

His appointment at Leicester sees the Northern Irishman return to England for the first time since being sacked by Liverpool in 2015.

Brendan Rodgers won seven trophies during his time in charge of Celtic
Brendan Rodgers won seven trophies during his time in charge of Celtic (Jeff Holmes/PA)

He guided the Reds to a second-placed finish in 2014, losing a five-point lead with three matches remaining to finish behind Manchester City.

Rodgers has also been in charge at Watford, Reading and Swansea, taking the Swans into the Premier League in 2011.

Puel was sacked after seven winless games, including being knocked out of the FA Cup by Newport, with club chiefs concerned about being dragged into a relegation battle.

The Frenchman was well respected by the hierarchy, but vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha acted over concerns with results and the atmosphere following Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

Srivaddhanaprabha said: “I’m absolutely delighted to bring a manager of Brendan’s calibre to Leicester City and I look forward to seeing what he, our talented, young squad and our dedicated, skilled team of staff can achieve together.

“As projects, including the development of our new training ground and the proposed expansion of King Power Stadium continue to take shape, and as a young squad of great potential begins to mature, Brendan and his colleagues arrive at an exciting time for Leicester City. We’re continuing to grow as a club and I am anticipating that Brendan’s coaching methods, knowledge and experience can enhance our journey.”

Leicester also confirmed the appointment of Chris Davies as assistant manager, Kolo Toure as first-team coach and Glen Driscoll as first-team fitness coach.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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