English Premiership

Rodgers on brink of return to Premier League

2019-02-26 17:43
Brendan Rodgers (Getty Images)

London - Brendan Rodgers took a significant step closer to a return to managing in the Premier League as Celtic "very reluctantly" granted him permission to talk to Leicester City.

The 46-year-old Northern Irishman - who has not coached a Premier League team since being sacked by Liverpool in October 2015 - is in talks about filling the vacancy left by Claude Puel, who was sacked on Sunday.

Rodgers, who came agonisingly close to landing an elusive Premier League title for Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, has rebuilt his reputation in Scotland guiding Celtic to an historic double treble in two seasons and the team are on course for a third one this term.

However, not even the lure of that - and getting the better of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard who played under him at Liverpool - has been enough to deter him from meeting with the Leicester hierarchy.

"Celtic Football Club today confirmed that it has been approached by Leicester City FC to speak to Brendan Rodgers with regards to their current managerial vacancy," read a Celtic statement on their website.

"Brendan has indicated to the Club that this is an opportunity he wishes to investigate further and therefore, very reluctantly, the Club has granted him permission to speak to Leicester City."

Rodgers' one failure has been in European competition.

His first match in charge of 'The Bhoys' was a humiliating 1-0 loss to the Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar in the first leg of a Champions League second qualifying round tie though they progressed after the second leg.

But any hope of making ground in Europe has been stymied by the board preferring to sell before backing him with significant investment.

Gerrard, who in his first senior managerial role has guided Rangers into second place in the league eight points adrift of Celtic, said Rodgers' achievements made him a natural target for a Premier League club.

"Brendan has done ever so well at Celtic over the years so it's no surprise that other clubs are watching him and wanting to acquire his services," said Gerrard.

"He's done a really good job and I've worked with Brendan so I know he's a very good coach."

Puel was dismissed after 16 months in charge following Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Crystal Palace.

The 57-year-old Frenchman left the club 12th in the Premier League having lost five of their past six league games and just eight points above the relegation zone.

He had been praised for his dignified leadership in the wake of the death of the popular owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in a helicopter crash outside the club's King Power stadium in October.

First-team coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler were put in temporary charge. Leicester play Brighton at home in the Premier League on Tuesday.

Potential replacements for Rodgers number former Celtic handler Neil Lennon - out of work since leaving Hibs at the end of January - and Steve Clarke, who has earned plaudits for his work at unfashionable Premiership outfit Kilmarnock.

 

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