Brendan Rodgers has opened up on his departure from Celtic and revealed why the chance to manage Leicester was ‘too good an opportunity to turn down’.
Rodgers took charge at the King Power Stadium in February, returning to the Premier League following a trophy-laden spell in Scottish football with Celtic.
The Northern Irishman guided Celtic to all seven domestic trophies available during a two-and-a-half-year spell in Glasgow, including completing unprecedented back-to-back domestic trebles and leading the club to a British-record 69-game unbeaten run.
Rodgers’ mid-season departure from Celtic – a club he had grown up supporting – caused much anger amongst their fanbase, though the former Liverpool boss says the opportunity to work with Leicester’s exciting young talent was too difficult to resist.
31 – Since Brendan Rodgers’ first game in charge in March, Leicester have won 31 points in the Premier League – only Liverpool (49) and Man City (43) have picked up more in this period. Accomplished. pic.twitter.com/5BYX4sKoDn
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 29, 2019
The 46-year-old has led the in-form Foxes to third in the Premier League during the opening weeks of his first full season in charge, though Rodgers’ has urged his side not to get carried away with many tipping Leicester City to gatecrash the top four.
“This team was ninth in the last two seasons, let’s not forget that,” Rodgers told Jamie Carragher in an interview for The Telegraph. “It’s a huge jump needed.
“I lived my dream managing Celtic, a club I supported. That journey will always be with me. But every manager and players will have goals and objectives they want to achieve in their career.
“Your situation can change very quickly. We won seven trophies on the spin and if I felt I could not take Celtic further it had to be the right club and I thought Leicester was too good an opportunity to turn down. The timing was not ideal but I left the team in a good place.
“I looked at Leicester and felt we could develop a way of working to improve the team. I see players like James Maddison, who is better than I thought when I saw him at Aberdeen and Norwich. He loves the game. Then there is exciting young talent like Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes.
“But I have to tell you, Jamie, the senior players, some of whom took a lot of criticism a few years ago – Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel, Jamie Vardy Danny Simpson, Marc Albrighton – they have been absolutely magnificent for me. They train so hard every day and really care. They are winners, too. They have that mindset which really helps.
“It is still all going to take time. The gap has increased between the top and the rest of the top six, so there is still a big ask to close that. We spent £19million net in the summer and lost our centre-half, but it does not stop us wanting to challenge. I am loving it here and the challenge of taking the team up there.”
See also – 20 of Brendan Rodgers best quotes ever