The Leicester manager has been talking up the qualities of a playmaker who is back in the England squad and sparking reports of interest from afar
James Maddison is “a bit like Philippe Coutinho”, according to Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, with the Foxes star having sparked talk of interest from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.
At just 22 years of age, the Foxes playmaker has become one of the most sought-after talents in the Premier League.
He has proved himself in the top flight, with his fine form being recognised with another call-up to the senior England squad ahead of the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers.
It could be that he forms part of the Three Lions party at a major tournament next summer, while also being on the move at club level.
Leicester, though, have made it clear that they will battle hard to retain the services of a prized asset, with Rodgers seeing similarities between Maddison and a Brazilian star he previously worked with at Liverpool.
“James is a bit like Philippe Coutinho, they’re players who are recognised for their talent,” Rodgers told The Athletic.
“But then to maximise that talent, in order for them to participate in the game at the highest level, they also have to be able to contribute to a press.
“Of course, James has his strengths, so you let him flourish with those strengths. But then we helped him with the tactical discipline. And he’s becoming very, very good at it.”
Impressive progress with the Foxes has seen the Northern Irishman mooted as a leading contender to fill a number of high-profile posts that could become available at some stage.
Rodgers is, however, happy with the role he holds at present, with a job at the King Power Stadium proving to be big enough for him.
He added: “Leaving Celtic was always going to be difficult for me because of my passion for the club, so I knew to leave there I had to come into something that was going to allow real growth.
“When I had the chance to come here, for some it might have been a strange choice: ‘Why would you leave a huge club like Celtic to come to Leicester City?’ But, for me, there was so much potential here and that starts with the players, and then with the club in general.”
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Rodgers added on his hopes for the Foxes: “My ambition is always for the clubs that I go into to be the very best that they can be, for the players to be the very best. Of course you want to be the best.
“People talk about trophies and everything else, that’s great and it’s brilliant to be able to do that. But there are some coaches and managers who aren’t lucky enough to work with teams that give them the chance to do that. But that shouldn’t take away the level of coach that they are.
“So, for me, what’s the perception? I can’t really worry about that.”