Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers
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Brendan Rodgers

Current Club/Country: Leicester City.

Previous Clubs/Countries: Celtic, Liverpool, Swansea City, Reading, Watford.

Honours: Scottish League 2016/17, 2017/18. Scottish Cup 2016/17, 2017/18. Scottish League Cup 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19. Premier League Manager of the Year 2013/14. Scottish Manager of the Year 2016/17.

The Northern Irishman is a very good technical coach, most of the players he work with are improved as players. In the short term, players do respond to his methods incredibly well, as has been shown at Leicester. Rodgers has no problem getting the players to come together as a team and play for him. Though there are worries about the fitness coaching, which left Liverpool needing extra fitness sessions to reach the level required by his successor Jurgen Klopp.

It is in the long term that issues come to light. Tactically he is incredibly poor at analysing the opposition, struggling to turn round a game. The ultimate example of that was a game in Europe, while he managed Liverpool, when he could not understand what the opposition were doing. The opposition would play a back 3 in possession and revert to a back 4 when defending, it was not a difficult read, but Rodgers needed 180 minutes against them before he figured it out!

Rodgers likes to control possession, but that can often be to the detriment of the team's attacking play, which becomes more evident the longer he is in charge. His teams, after initially being bright and exciting, devolve into passing for passing's sake after he has been in charge for a long time. Something that did not matter at Celtic, with no one to challenge his hegemony, but will present a problem at Leicester, if the pattern repeats itself.

Added to that, his man-management is extremely suspect. While a nice, likeable guy, Rodgers does have a tendency to try and take the credit for everything good, while looking elsewhere to blame for anything that goes wrong. When a player has a good game, Rodgers will talk to the media about how he told him to do this or that to help him play well, as he so often did with Raheem Sterling when at Liverpool. Then, when his player has a bad game, it is the player's fault, not his.

That propensity to try and take the credit for everything has seen him recently claim to have been partly to thank for Liverpool's recent success under Jurgen Klopp. This despite the fact he left a mess behind that Klopp needed a couple of seasons to turn around. It is a real weakness, as eventually players get tired of not getting credit for playing well.

On top of that, he has also shown no loyalty to someone who was supposed to be a good friend and colleague, quickly stabbing Colin Pascoe in the back to save himself at Liverpool. Though it only turned out to be a short term save. Then jumping ship on Celtic, as soon as he finally had a challenger there, to take the Leicester job. It can be difficult to get players onside if they find you untrustworthy, so it could become a problem for him, as he had a reputation at Liverpool of making promises to players that he never kept to.

His ability to sign quality players is very mixed, difficult though it is to judge as Rodgers is not a recruitment department, but his signings at the attacking end have been much better than his defensive ones. It seems he struggles to understand the defensive aspect of the game, shown by his inability to organise a defence.

One good aspect is he has shown a willingness to listen to advice, when his teams are not performing at their best. Rodgers changed his tactics at Liverpool, in large part, due to advice received from Marcelo Bielsa, to produce some breathtaking attacking football during the 2013/14 season. Unfortunately, the following season he then reverted to his own blueprint of possession obsession and ended up wiping out all the good work he had done.

That suggests to me that what he most needs is a strong number 2 alongside him, someone who understands tactical analysis and is not afraid to speak up when he disagrees with Rodgers. That would allow Rodgers to focus on what he does best, coaching. At least at Leicester they have an excellent recruitment set-up in place, so it is a place that could well suit his strengths and minimise his weaknesses.

One last strength, and it is a huge strength, is luck. There is a reason why Napoleon preferred a lucky general to a good one. You only have to look at Rodger's career to see how luck can play a huge part. He jumped into the Swansea job at the right time, despite having struggled previously, then somehow got offered the job at Liverpool, without having anything like the CV to suggest that Rodgers was the right choice.

While there, despite his utterances standing comparison with David Brent, the dumping of his wife for a younger woman, the weight loss, wardrobe refresh, teeth whitening and going orange on the sun beds, somehow he avoided becoming a laughing stock in the media. In fact, no matter how poorly his team played or even when he put out a reserve side to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in a make or break game, the media were almost completely backing him.

Then, after his sacking, the media stayed on his side, suggesting it was harsh, despite Liverpool's slide towards a relegation battle under him. Following that, he lucked into a Celtic job at a time when they had absolutely no domestic rivals to worry about, on the largest salary they have ever paid a manager. As soon as their big rivals Rangers returned to a position to threaten, he got the chance to jump into a great job at Leicester, with a better squad available to him than the one they had when they won the title but little pressure due to recent performances.

Forgetting the lucky timings, it is a big help to have the media onside when doing a manager's job in the Premier League. They set the agenda of the conversation, if the agenda is favourable towards the manager, it can only help Rodgers in his job.

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