Third act: Rodgers makes Premier League return with Leicester


«Together, we’ll be stronger and I’m looking forward to working with the players, staff and supporters to make the right steps forward.»

In his two full seasons at Celtic, Rodgers swept the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup titles.

This season, Celtic have won the League Cup, lead the league by eight points and are into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

Celtic, who had «reluctantly» given Rodgers permission to speak to the Premier League club earlier on Tuesday, moved immediately to replace Rodgers by hiring Neil Lennon, the club’s manager from 2010-14.

Rodgers, who succeeds Claude Puel at Leicester after the Frenchman’s sacking on Sunday, was due at King Power Stadium for Tuesday’s league game against Brighton but won’t take charge of the team until the game on Sunday at Watford.

Leicester haven’t won in their past seven games, stretching back to the start of the year, and have slid to within eight points of the relegation zone.

The Northern Irishman had a roller-coaster spell with Liverpool.

The Northern Irishman had a roller-coaster spell with Liverpool.Credit:AP

Once a team happy to just be in the top division, Leicester’s expectations have altered owing to their improbable Premier League title triumph in 2016 under manager Claudio Ranieri.

Rodgers’ return to the Premier League is a rare case of a club making what seems to be the perfect appointment: He is young enough to have the hunger and desire to succeed and experienced enough from his time at Swansea and Liverpool to ensure he is ready for what the Premier League can throw at a manager.

Leicester endured tragedy this season when Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died when helicopter crashed leaving the stadium after a game in October.

Puel had to lead the club through grief in the following weeks.

But his future has been the subject of almost continuous speculation since the turn of the year, when Leicester lost to fourth-tier Newport County in the FA Cup.

They have lost five of six league games since.

Hired to replace Craig Shakespeare in October 2017, months after being released by Southampton, Puel led Leicester to a ninth-place finish last season.

«We’re continuing to grow as a club and I am anticipating that Brendan’s coaching methods, knowledge and experience can enhance our journey,» Leicester vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said.

«I’m absolutely delighted to bring a manager of Brendan’s calibre to Leicester and I look forward to seeing what he, our talented, young squad and our dedicated, skilled team of staff can achieve together.

«As projects, including the development of our new training ground and the proposed expansion of King Power Stadium continue to take shape, and as a young squad of great potential begins to mature, Brendan and his colleagues arrive at an exciting time for Leicester City.»

Rodgers’ former side Celtic are currently eight points clear of local rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premiership as they chase an eighth consecutive top division title.

They reached the group stages of the Champions League in Rodgers’ first two campaigns but were eliminated by AEK Athens in the third qualifying round this season.

AP, Reuters

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