Brendan Rodgers has got Leicester fans dreaming of more glory after Liverpool recovery | Football | Sport

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It was a one-off, a miracle never to be repeated. Who could doubt that? Well, it’s turning into a different story.

Now, inspired by the innovative style of manager Brendan Rodgers, the unsung football club from the East Midlands are more like a work of dazzling modern literature.

They are a serious proposition. They wow the heavyweight critics. They enjoy universal respect and admiration.

They are a team that lay third in the table going into this weekend’s set of fixtures, having also earned a place in the League Cup quarter-finals.

They won their last League match with an all-time record 9-0 score for a triumphant away side.

They play high-intensity football – pressing the opposition, moving at breakneck speed into attack, while also enjoying the equal best defensive record in the top flight.

There is no miracle about the new Leicester City.They are a proper team, and they are proving the most fundamental truth of all in football – the incalculable value of a brilliant manager.

When Rodgers arrived at the club a mere eight months ago they were in the depths of despair. The players were distracted, the fans were jeering previous boss Claude Puel and the atmosphere was toxic.

The transformation of the team and the club has been forged by the new manager’s strength of purpose and his grand vision.

Rodgers has imposed his style of football on Leicester. He has moulded the players to fit the system, as the very best coaches do. That even includes Jamie Vardy, a striker who would supposedly be forever a fish out of water.

To see the smile on the face of Vardy now, to see his enthusiasm, adaptability and cascade of goals is a treat. Leicester have all the elements required of genuine contenders, starting with a consistent goalscorer.

They have players with experience of winning a Premier League title in Vardy, keeper Kasper Schmeichel and defender Jonny Evans.There are talented young home-grown players, very much in tune with the mood music of this season, in James Maddison and Harvey Barnes.

Raiding full-backs in Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell are essential in the modern game. So, too, is a robust and intelligent holding midfielder. Leicester possess a gem in Wilfried Ndidi.

They also have the epitome of a modern centre-back, a player who is joyfully robust in the tackle yet blessed with ability on the ball.

Perhaps it seemed to many that Leicester were losing this crucial piece of the jigsaw with the sale of Harry Maguire to Manchester United while gathering a world-record fee for a defender.

Rodgers knew different. He sensed the club already had an ideal replacement in Caglar Soyuncu, a player swiftly lifted into a cult hero figure with the fans.

It is further evidence of the sure touch of Rodgers, who has a win rate of 56.5 per cent in his time so far at Leicester.This is a hugely impressive number, as compelling as the 9-0 crushing of Southampton.

After the destruction of the Saints,TV pundit Gary Neville said it was time to consider Rodgers as a candidate for “one of the big jobs” of football. He mentioned Arsenal and Tottenham as possibilities sooner rather than later.

It was a suggestion delivered as high praise, but surely it missed the point. Isn’t a new truth beginning to emerge – that being manager of recent champions Leicester City is one of the big jobs of contemporary football?



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