Brendan Rodgers has Leicester third in the Premier League table. Early days, it’s true, but that record dates back well before the start of the season. It is seven months now since Rodgers was appointed at the King Power Stadium and only Liverpool and Manchester City have picked up more points in that time. Leicester’s fortunes have been transformed.
At a club accustomed to the extraordinary, ambition was stifled under predecessor Claude Puel. Direction lost. But Rodgers has restored belief and Leicester is alive with possibility once more. With the help of some shrewd and imaginative recruitment, an exciting young team has been constructed. Rodgers is proving the right man to unlock that talent.
Speaking to him last month, it was clear that this had been a big summer. Expectations had been clarified, work intensified and progress made. Rodgers had used the spring to assess his squad and now they were exploring different tactical ideas. Expanding their repertoire.
While others embarked on pre-season tours far from home, it was agreed with director of football Jon Rudkin that Leicester would not leave Europe.
“We spoke about staying as close to home as we could so that we could get as much work in as we could,” he told Sky Sports. “I have been involved in the commitments when you travel and there are a lot of commercial demands. Especially our first pre-season together, I felt it was going to be very important that we lock ourselves down in the training facility.”
The impact has been obvious. Leicester look like a Rodgers team now. Only last season’s top four have had more touches of the ball. As well as the results of a top team, they are playing the football of one too. Leicester rank among the top six for the number of pass sequences of 10 or more. Their title win was a spectacular one-off, but this feels sustainable.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s 2-1 win over Tottenham
All are ambitious. All have bought into the new ideas of the manager. Most importantly for Rodgers, all of them want to learn too. “Thankfully, we have a squad here that constantly wants to improve,” he told Sky Sports.
“They are players who are coachable and are hungry.”
That has been reflected in their impressive tactical flexibility so far this season. Against Wolves on the opening weekend, it was a 4-3-3 but “just a different shape at the front” with “the width then coming from the full-backs”. Maddison has played from the left at times, but then shown that he can adjust even within games – as he did against Tottenham.