Brendan Rodgers says star players opting to stay is sign of Leicester’s progress

Harvey Barnes signed a new four-year contract with the Foxes this week.

Phil Casey
Sunday 22 August 2021 22:30
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is pleased to have kept hold of his star players this summer (Nick Potts/PA)
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is pleased to have kept hold of his star players this summer (Nick Potts/PA)

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes keeping hold of his star players this summer indicates that they share the club’s ambitions.

The Foxes have consistently sold players to “bigger” clubs in recent years, with N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Ben Chilwell all joining Chelsea, Riyad Mahrez moving to Manchester City and Harry Maguire signed by Manchester United.

A similar move for James Maddison to Arsenal was a source of speculation until the Gunners signed Martin Odegaard, while Harvey Barnes committed his future to the club by signing a new four-year contract this week.

Rodgers is also hopeful that Youri Tielemans who scored a stunning winner as Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in their history in May, will also follow suit as he prepared for Monday’s Premier League game at West Ham.

“Players have felt the need to move on and further their careers, which is fine, and that’s the nature of the game,” Rodgers said. “It will always happen and some of the biggest clubs in the world will lose their players.

“You’ve always got to be preparing this pipeline of players going forward so if you do lose them you get the next ones coming in. That’s something we are very clear on as a club.

“I just think this summer the players have been able to reflect on where we’re at as a team and a club and feel they want to be a part of that, which is great news.

“There have been things this year around James (Maddison), but the reality of that is it was all paper talk, gossip, because there was never an enquiry, never a bid. There was no drama there.”

West Ham were the only club to complete the double over Leicester last season, winning 3-0 at the King Power Stadium just seven days after the Foxes had thrashed Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad.

The Hammers then scored three goals in the first 48 minutes of the reverse fixture in April and Rodgers was not about to offer up any excuses for the poor performances.

“Yeah, we weren’t very good,” the former Liverpool and Celtic boss said. “Apart from maybe the last half hour of the second game they were better than us.

“We came off the back of a great result against Man City and were poor in our defending the counter-attack and then we gave them a three-goal start before we started playing in the second game.

“We took joy from about 50 minutes in when we showed more of our true self.

“When we’re attacking and being really aggressive then we’re a match for anyone. If not, then we can suffer. Our intention on Monday is to play much better than we did over the course of the two games last season.”