sport news Brendan Rodgers insists he will control Leicester squad player-power

Brendan Rodgers made his return to the Premier League after more than three years away by addressing what he has left and what he is joining.

To those upset at his sudden departure from Celtic, there was humility and an insistence the Leicester job would not have waited until the summer.

To those curious at how he will deal with a group accused by some of wielding player-power to topple Claudio Ranieri and Claude Puel, there was a compelling argument that strong opinions should be fostered.

Brendan Rodgers speaks to the media in his first official press briefing as Leicester City boss

Brendan Rodgers speaks to the media in his first official press briefing as Leicester City boss

It was a confident show from Rodgers, back in England's top flight for the first time since being dismissed by Liverpool in October 2015. He began with an upbeat assessment of his Celtic spell and an explanation of his decision to forgo the prospect of a treble of trebles at Parkhead.

'If I was making the decision with my heart I would still be at Celtic,' said Rodgers. 'But removing emotion was key. I have family who are deeply upset, but I was presented with an opportunity too good to turn down.

'The ideal time would have been the summer, but it wasn't going to wait. When Leicester spoke to Celtic, they made it clear I was their only choice and their intention was to bring in someone permanently.'

A banner unfurled by Celtic fans during Wednesday's game at Hearts said Rodgers had swapped 'immortality for mediocrity' — and he snapped back at Friday's press conference.

Rodgers takes a Leicester training session on Friday ahead of his first match in charge

Rodgers takes a Leicester training session on Friday ahead of his first match in charge

'This isn't mediocrity, it is a club with a real rich history of its own, and recently the greatest sports story in history,' he said.

How to progress from lifting the Premier League title was a conundrum Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare, and Puel were unable to answer. Rodgers has clearly studied that period since 2016 to see if he has the solution.

'There's a little bit of complacency,' he said. 'I don't think it's intentional. You see it in sport. You don't quite run the same. Where you pressed for 10 metres, you're now only pressing eight. But everyone still expects. So the last couple of years have been difficult because of that.

'Now it's the chance to press the reset button, come in with a clear vision. It's a wonderful club, with ambition. Can we challenge for Europe? Then, can we win a trophy? I went to Celtic to win, and when you win you want to win more.'

Former Celtic boss Rodgers addresses his players ahead of Sunday's clash with Watford

Former Celtic boss Rodgers addresses his players ahead of Sunday's clash with Watford

'You traded immortality for mediocrity' reads a Celtic banner aimed at Rodgers on Wednesday

'You traded immortality for mediocrity' reads a Celtic banner aimed at Rodgers on Wednesday

That assessment chimed with his view on Leicester's strong dressing room, which was originally nurtured by Nigel Pearson. To the outside world, it appears to undermine Leicester managers. Rodgers will give absolute direction

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