Brendan Rodgers is back in the Premier League after being unveiled as Leicester City’s new manager.
The announcement was made shortly before the Foxes hosted Brighton & Hove Albion at the King Power Stadium last night, a match that Leicester won 2-1 as Rodgers looked on from the stands.
Mike Stowell, the caretaker manager for the game against Brighton, said former Celtic boss Rodgers visited the dressing room after the victory.
Stowell told the BBC: “Brendan’s pleased. He spoke to the lads in the dressing room. He was proud of them and liked the spirit.
“The atmosphere has lifted with a win and with the new manager because I’m sure he’ll bring a lot of good things. It’s exciting times.
“He’s got a presentation to give to them on Thursday on what he expects from them on and off the pitch. I’m excited about watching that.”
Bags of potential
The Northern Irishman has signed a contract until June 2022 and in doing so he declared his ambition for the club.
“The big attraction for me is working with the players,” Rodgers told the club’s TV channel. “It’s a young squad, a very dynamic squad, it’s got huge potential and you’ve got some of the players with good experience also.
“There was a number of factors in being here and, like I say, I’m absolutely delighted.
“I’d just like to say that I’m very privileged and honoured to be here as the manager. I promise that I’ll give my life to making them proud of their team and proud of their club, and I look forward to working with them because together we’re stronger.
“It’s been a really difficult period, like I say, but my message is that together we’ll be stronger and on and off the pitch let’s make the right steps forward and I look forward to, like I say, making them proud of their team.”
Rodgers won seven major trophies in under three seasons at Celtic Park but the chance to pit his wits in the far more competitive confines of the Premier League was irresistible.
“Celtic is a club that’s a huge club worldwide, a renowned club, and I loved working with the players,” he reflected. “We were on a journey of great success over these last years but when the opportunity came to talk to Leicester and I was able to analyse it, it allowed me to think that I’d probably achieved and taken the club maybe at Celtic as far as I could at this moment.”
Rodgers came to prominence in charge of Swansea City before being appointed manager of Liverpool in 2012.
In the three years that followed he failed to win a trophy at Anfield but he steered them to the top of the Premier League table in 2013-14, and but for a spectacular meltdown in the final three matches of the campaign the Reds would have won their first top-flight title since 1990.
Asked how he feels to be back in the Premier League, Rodgers replied: “It feels great. It’s obviously come very quickly and obviously, of course, over the last few days, but I know I’m joining a fantastic club that has grown so quickly over these last few years.”
Leicester only parted company with Claude Puel following the 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend, but according to Sky Sports News Rodgers “informed Celtic’s players on Monday afternoon that he was leaving”.
His first match in charge will be Sunday’s game against Watford, where he will be assisted by Chris Davies and Kolo Toure, the latter the first-team coach.
“I’m absolutely delighted to bring a manager of Brendan’s calibre to Leicester City and I look forward to seeing what he, our talented, young squad and our dedicated, skilled team of staff can achieve together,” said Leicester City vice chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who allegedly paid £6m in compensation to Celtic says The Times.
“We’re continuing to grow as a club and I am anticipating that Brendan’s coaching methods, knowledge and experience can enhance our journey.”
Lennon returns to Parkhead
Celtic moved swiftly to replace Rodgers by naming Neil Lennon as manager until the end of the season.
The 47-year-old was previously in charge of the Glasgow giants from 2010 to 2014 where he won three league championships and two Scottish Cups.
Northern Irishman Lennon said: “There’s a chasm to fill with Brendan leaving. He’s done a remarkable job, but I’m here for the club. The club comes first as do the players. I want to bring as much success during my time here as I possibly can. All I want to do is carry that on – it’s not broken and I’m not coming in and looking to revolutionise anything.”
Premier League results and fixtures
Results: Tuesday 26 February
- Cardiff City 0 Everton 3
- Huddersfield Town 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
- Leicester City 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
- Newcastle United 2 Burnley 0
Fixtures: Wednesday 27 February
- Arsenal vs. AFC Bournemouth (7.45pm)
- Southampton vs. Fulham (7.45pm)
- Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur (8pm, live on BT Sport 1)
- Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United (8pm)
- Liverpool vs. Watford (8pm)
- Manchester City vs. West Ham United (8pm)