"You don't play for Brendan Rodgers if you don't do the dirty work. It's as simple as that."
There was a bit of stick doing the rounds last year, as Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City side slipped from second place to fifth in the second half of the season.
The critics were out in force and they called him the 'half season man,' a 'bottler,' and whole-heartedly claimed that his teams suffer, and will always suffer from white line fever.
But in truth, and any sort of logical thinker will agree, it's the furthest thing from a bottle job to have brought Leicester City from ninth to fifth in just one year in the job. Nor was it white line fever to have brought Liverpool from 8th place to runners up to that great Manchester City team, in just two seasons at the helm.
What the critics haven't realised is that for years now, Brendan Rodgers has been the victim of his own success. Not many gave too much weight to his triumphs and records when he was at Celtic due to the Hoops' continued dominance of Scottish football, but just take one look at Celtic now, and think of what they wouldn't do to bring the Antrim man back. Rodgers made his name at Swansea City, where he turned a mid-table Championship team into a mid-table Premier League team.
King Brendan is back on🔝 pic.twitter.com/cTkFiUSJC7
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) January 19, 2021
Brendan Rodgers' playing career ended prematurely due to a knee injury at the age of 20. His attention immediately turned to a career in coaching as he journeyed through Spain and Holland to discover and learn from some of the best-run clubs in the world.
From there, he developed a philosophy and culture based on a holistic approach which sets about involving and improving everyone and every system in the club, from top to bottom.
"It has always been important to me to look after the mental wellbeing of those in my team as well as their physical fitness, because happy people learn and happy people win. I try to create a comfortable learning environment for everyone, whoever they are, whatever their background and whatever level they’re currently at," he once said.
Just take a look at James Maddison's post match interview after Leicester City went top of the table last night and you will see the embodiment of this 'happy' person Brendan Rodgers strives for.
One line in particular stood out: 'You don't play for Brendan Rodgers if you don't do the dirty work. It's as simple as that.'
Maddison was prepared to do the dirty work, so too were his Leicester teammates and in many ways, it was a direct contrast from a lacklustre and lazy showing from Frank Lampard's Chelsea team. The goalscorer went onto talk about learning from Jamie Carragher's critique on Sky Sports, offering an insight into the environment of 'constant improvement' at the club.
Can we just have James Maddison interviews after every game, even those he doesn’t play in? pic.twitter.com/38AVyHXTqK
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) January 19, 2021
Leicester City probably won't win the League this year and resources, tradition and finances will go a long way to explaining that. But one thing you can bank on, is that Brendan Rodgers will have got the best out of the majority of their players by the season's end.