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brennan's brief Give Brendan Rodgers credit for showing he can cut it against managers with much bigger budgets


Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has proven he can compete with the best of them

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has proven he can compete with the best of them

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has proven he can compete with the best of them

It’s time to give Brendan Rodgers a bit of credit.

Yes, this year’s Premier League is all mixed up, with teams winning and losing every second time they go out to play. But what is certain is that the 47-year-old, from Carnlough in Antrim, has Leicester City in the mix at the halfway point of the season.

And it is not just a case of Rodgers resurrecting the team and the spirit that saw Leicester record a famous Premier League win in 2016.

When Leicester City beat Chelsea 2-0 on Tuesday night, they had only three regulars from five years ago still in their line-up, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, winger Marc Albrighton and striker Jamie Vardy.

A couple of others from that great victory, such as Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs, are still at the club, but are only bit players now. So Rodgers has built a new team with midfielders James Maddison and Harvey Barnes both getting England call-ups this season.

And another man in the middle, Belgian Youri Tielemans, is a regular for his national team despite all the quality acts that Belgium have to call on right now.

While Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans has been superb at centre-half, just as his old club Manchester United scramble around for a partnership at the back.

Rodgers also has a jewel in his other centre-back, 20-year-old Wesley Fofana from France. Fofana has been earning rave reviews this season and it seems like Leicester will be receiving ‘telephone-number’ type offers for the player in the summer from many of Europe’s big clubs.

For too long, Rodgers has had to carry around his neck that near-miss with Liverpool in 2014 when they almost won the Premier League. It wasn’t his fault that Steven Gerrard slipped and fell in the vital match, presenting Chelsea with a goal and Man City with the title.

When it all went wrong at Anfield not too long afterwards, the Antrim man went away and reinvented himself with Celtic, where he won trophy after trophy and is now showing in England, again, that he can cut it against the very best managers with much bigger budgets that he has.

It’s just the sort of season where a smaller club could slip in and win it all. Incredibly, Aston Villa, if they could win their games in hand, would be right on Leicester’s heels too.

In a season where no team had a proper pre-season preparation, where transfers are few and far between after almost a year with clubs having no gate receipts, wouldn’t Rodgers have the last laugh if he could lead his Leicester boys to the title?

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