Brendan Rodgers was appointed as Leicester City’s new manager this week. The appointment of Rodgers begins a new and potentially crucial era at Leicester. The appointment of Rodgers is the first managerial appointment of Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha’s time as chairman, and it sets the tone and example for Srivaddhanaprabha’s many years in charge. However, the move is perhaps more career-defining for Rodgers himself. His results at Leicester will make or break his career. If he does well at Leicester, he may receive another job at a top-six club and get the chance to fulfill his potential, but if Rodgers fails, he may fall into down the ladder of managerial opportunities.
Rodgers had a quietly decent start to his managerial career, managing Chelsea youth teams before having spells in the Championship managing Watford and Reading. However, it was his spell at Swansea that truly captured the attention of Premier League fans. In his first year in Wales, Rodgers guided Swansea to the Premier League by winning the 2010/11 Championship playoff final. In his and Swansea’s inaugural Premier League campaign, Rodgers led his team to an impressive 11th place finish. Liverpool rewarded Rodgers for his excellent Premier League performance at Swansea by handing him their manager’s post in the summer of 2012.
Rodgers move to Liverpool began his most famous spell. The Northern Irishman managed 166 games and attained an impressive win ratio of 50% in all competitions. Rodgers best season at Anfield came in 2013/14 when he came within a few points of leading the club to their maiden Premier League title. Rodgers blended the midfield brilliance of Steven Gerrard with the potency of an in-form Daniel Sturridge and a world-class marksman in Luis Suarez. Rodgers skillfully utilized that trio to transform the fortunes of Liverpool and make them a dominant Premier League force once again. However, good times didn’t last at Liverpool as key men were sold and other key players were stricken with injury, and thus Brendan Rodgers was sacked in October 2015.
No question, Rodgers’ latter years in charge of Liverpool tainted his legacy and cast doubt over his talents. However, he answered many critics shortly after being appointed as manager of Celtic in 2016. In a 169 game stint across almost three years, Rodgers restored the reputation of Scottish soccer as his attractive style drew exceptional attacking talent to Glasgow. Rodgers guided Celtic to three League Cup’s, two Scottish Cup’s, three Scottish Premiership titles and he put them in a brilliant position to win another this season. Throughout his time at Celtic, Rodgers was linked continuously to vacant managerial jobs in England. Rodgers was even placed as an early favorite to replace Arsene Wenger when he departed Arsenal in the summer.
The link to Arsenal typifies how highly many in the Premier League think of Rodgers. He is a well spoken but straight-talking managerial star, and he enhances his reputation year on year. Rodgers is the kind of figure that you love if you support his team but hate if you support his opposition. Such is the sheer talent and menace of the man. Rodgers seems to scrupulously prepare and never take his foot off the metaphorical accelerator. It is interesting that he has taken the manager’s position at Leicester. The Foxes is a club who have done great things, and whose fans have high expectations. They have a considerably sized budget and a chance at expansion; they are the kind of club who dream of European soccer and accept little less. Claude Puel departed Leicester because he bought middle table consistency. And Craig Shakespeare was relieved of his duties for similar reasons, as was title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.
There is little room for failure at Leicester. If Rodgers falls foul of expectations, he will become just another name in the slush pile of managerial failures. However, if Rodgers does meet expectations and qualifies for European soccer, then he will be in a position to make the leap to a big six job again. Rodgers’ appointment is important for Leicester, but it is crucial for Rodgers who could use it to finally fulfill his potential of being this generation’s best home grown coach.