The Brendan Rodgers Project: Thomas Bradley Alderman discusses the Foxes’ fortunes

After Leicester City’s disappointing (and frustrating) loss to Newcastle United, Brendan Rodgers men bounced back with a come-from-behind draw with Manuel Pelligrini’s West Ham United (back from 2 down) and a 3-0 steamrolling of Unai Emery’s Arsenal. We spoke with sportswriter Thomas Bradley Alderman whose beat covers Leicester City FC for The Foxes of Leicester.

Thomas Bradley Alderman

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRER: After Leicester City won the Premier League, what went wrong?

THOMAS BRADLEY ALDERMAN: Following the title win, the recruitment made in summer 2016 was abysmal: too expensive and without the Premier League quality or toughness to improve the team, and the fact that Claudio Ranieri successfully didn’t alter the good work that was done by predecessor Nigel Pearson whilst winning the division. However, it was an anomaly of stars aligned – N’golo Kante the main factor before his departure – that Leicester City triumphed, anyway.

SI: Why didn’t things work out with Claude Puel? What was he hired to do?

TBA: Claude Puel’s teams don’t play attractive football. Also, he didn’t have an entertaining media polish, or natural charisma. Those are the main reasons that the Foxes fans didn’t like him. He was relieved of duty for poor results, along with, in the words of Khun Top Srivaddhanaprabha, “A toxic atmosphere at King Power Stadium.” Puel was hired for progression but struggled with mere stability. The squad was said, on the whole, to be at odds with his training methods also.

SI: What makes Rodgers the right man for Leicester City?

TBA: Personally, I’m happy with the appointment of Brendan Rodgers because he’s a big name who will attract a better standard of player; while hopefully helping to keep our stars. He is tactically pragmatic and is influenced by the best: Barcelona, total football and Pep Guardiola, in general. The Blue Army are very happy with the appointment.

SI: What makes Rodgers the right man for Leicester City?

TBA: Rodgers has technically Leicester punching above their weight; no doubt he has one eye on an eventual jump to a so called big six outfit. Hopefully, he’s made the East Midlands side the best of the rest by then!

SI: Can you discuss expectations? What does the Board expect from him? Supporters?

TBA: The LCFC hierarchy want consistent European qualification and to win domestic cups while finishing seventh or higher – hence the reason for spending £9 million to obtain an appropriate boss.

SI: What promising changes has he made to the club so far?

TBA: The promising changes Rodgers has made are generally adding promise to the club again. Bolstering the mental capacity of the team, too. For example the side doesn’t concede many early goals now; as well as playing to their strengths. It’s certainly an optimistic time to be a Fox.

SI: What concerns you about Brendan Rodgers as a manager? He’s notoriously had teams that leaked goals. Will he be able to rectify that?

TBA: Rodgers’ style lies with Kevin Keegan’s philosophy of – comedic element unintended – “scoring one more than our opponents.” What the then Newcastle United meant is attack over defence. Though, we would like our gaffer to make it a point to improve his record there by placing more emphasis on not conceding.

Yet with a fast break adhering side learning to possess the ball more, that’s difficult. Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell are definitely the type of players who can provide the best of defensive cover, to build around. Look out for Filip Benkovic upon return from loan next season.

SI: Brendan Rodgers has a clear football philosophy that revolves around possession. Formation matters less so long as his teams control the ball. That style does not fit the playing style of some of the players left over from Ranieri’s counter-attacking 4-4-2 squad. How should this be addressed?

TBA: Leicester City have been transitioning away from their one-dimensional counter attacking style for almost two years now; while retaining the capacity to employ it during fitting scenarios. Puel wanted a too methodical form of buildup play, in which the personnel struggled.

Just like most successful teams at present, LCFC use fantastically talented fullbacks to begin many moves – one of the most important positions currently in any side, see Liverpool. There are now two exceptionally adept midfield ball controllers in midfield: Youri Tielemans and James Maddison. Thusly with Maguire’s ball carrying ability, LCFC are transforming into a capable ball playing side.

Rodgers’ most interesting innovation is the interchangeable formation at present: a 4-1-4-1 when defending. It morphs into a 4-1-2-2-1 when on offense, which lends to the positive aspects of the title winning 4-4-2 formation.

SI: Thoughts on LCFC’s drubbing of Arsenal this last weekend?

TBA: Leicester City’s almost simplistic demolition of Arsenal ensures the club emerge as a contender for a surprising top six Premier League finish next season under Rodgers. Naturally, that is provided recruitment is not another failure this summer, not to mention the side having to retain its best players

To read Thomas Bradley Alderman’s writing check out The Foxes of Leicester.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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