FA Cup success for Brendan Rodgers would prove he's the real deal

Despite his excellence with Celtic, a trophy with Leicester City tops his achievements to date
FA Cup success for Brendan Rodgers would prove he's the real deal

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers have kept his side up with the best all season. Picture: PA.

THE FA Cup is not held in the same regard as it once was. 

However, ahead of Saturday’s final between Chelsea and Leicester City, victory for the latter would mean so much for manager Brendan Rodgers and would surpass anything he has done in his career. 

Rodgers has had a lot of success in his managerial career, particularly during his time as Celtic manager where he won a back-to-back treble and a league cup. 

Winning so many trophies in Scotland helped restore Rodgers' reputation as a manager after it was tarnished towards the end of his time as Liverpool manager.

The fact that there are Premier League fixtures the same day as the FA Cup final, just shows how far the competition has fallen. 

There was a time that the build-up to the final would have hours dedicated to it on television, but now it’s sandwiched in between Premier League fixtures. 

No matter how meaningless the competition has become, victory for Leicester would be Rodgers' greatest achievement as a manager and would surpass his achievements with Celtic. 

Rodgers left Celtic because he is ambitious. The Hoops are a massive club, but they are playing in a two-team league, where there are only four league fixtures a season that really matter. 

He was managing a team that played against players like myself. I used to question in the lead up to games against Celtic, ‘I wonder does Brendan Rodgers know who I am?' 

Winning trophies in Scotland was never going to get Rodgers back to managing clubs at the very top. Winning the FA Cup just might.

Leicester are one of the top clubs in England, but they are not among the elite. 

They were not one of the six English clubs that were invited to participate in the European Super League and the threat of the League trying to go ahead in the future is not gone. 

Every other club complained about the involvement of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United in the Super League because they knew, without these clubs, the English league would be as meaningless as the Scottish League would be with Rangers or Celtic.

AMBITION

Rodgers is a confident manager who believes in his own skills and no matter how much he declares his love for Leicester – as he did with Celtic – he will be determined to manage an elite club, a club that gets invited to the Super League.

Of those ‘Super Clubs’, there is one managerial job available at Tottenham and could possibly be two, with Mikel Arteta’s future at Arsenal looking uncertain. At the moment, Leicester have a better squad than both Tottenham and Arsenal. 

If there was a combined team between the three, I would only consider, Kieran Tierney, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son from Spurs and the Gunners squads that would get into Leicester’s starting 11.

However, the potential of what Arsenal and Spurs could achieve as a club is far greater than Leicester. When it comes to budgets, both London clubs are cautious but what makes Rodgers such a good manager, is his ability to improve players. If he became either Spurs or Arsenal manager and had to stick with the squads he has, he would certainly have them in a better position than fighting to finish in the top-six.

ARROGANCE

Rodgers’ confidence, borderline arrogance, can be his downfall. He is a man who believes in principles, as seen when he dropped several players for breaking Covid restrictions in a key game against West Ham. 

Those principles cost him winning a league with Liverpool in 2014. They meant that his Celtic team suffered 7-0 and 7-1 Champions League thrashings by Barcelona and Paris St-Germain and that the furthest he has got in European while managing a team is the last-32 of the Europa League.

I admire that he always believes in his teams and that there is no reason why he should change his philosophy no matter who they play. If he goes with the tactics of playing a defensive high-line against Chelsea, Leicester don’t stand a chance.

Newcastle’s Callum Wilson exposed Leicester lack of pace in defence last week and the same tactics used again against Chelsea, will only see Timo Werner exploit the open space behind the Leicester defence. Rodgers must acknowledge Chelsea are a better team and that he has to change from is normal philosophy if he wants to win a trophy that could get him back managing an ‘elite’ club.

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