LEICESTER boss Brendan Rodgers is not surprised to see Steven Gerrard make a successful start to his managerial career.
Gerrard, in charge of Aston Villa, played at Liverpool between 2012 and 2016 under Rodgers, who back then saw managerial traits in his player.
The pair crossed paths for the first time as opposing managers in Scotland, where they were in charge of the Old Firm clubs.
Rodgers won back-to-back domestic trebles during his two full seasons at Celtic, where he faced Gerrard’s Rangers team on two occasions. Each recorded a 1-0 win during that 2018-19 season, Gerrard’s first in management, before Rodgers left for Leicester shortly afterwards.
Last season, Gerrard delivered Rangers’ first Scottish Premiership title for a decade, in the process preventing Celtic from winning a historic 10 in a row.
Rodgers was full of praise for Gerrard ahead of Leicester’s trip to Villa on Sunday, when he is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with his former captain.
“When we were there together, he was brilliant for me. He was inspirational as a captain,” said Rodgers.
“He was brilliant, very supportive, had the respect of everyone at the club for what he had done, but he never rested on that. He was an incredible professional, very focussed on his game and making improvements. Even though he was one of the icons of the league, he was keen to embrace that.
“For a young manager going into Liverpool, he was outstanding for me. I’m not surprised he’s made that step and gone into management.
“We don’t speak so much now, life is very busy, but I can see he’s taken his mindset as a player into his coaching and management career and he has started off really well, which doesn’t surprise me at all.
“Most of my players that I’ve worked with, there’s a friendship there and I am always there to support them if it’s needed. When you manage Celtic and you manage Rangers, it’s very difficult to have that contact because it can be a real cauldron, so it can be difficult to have that connection. But from time to time I’ll drop Steven a text and it will be good to see him again at the weekend.”
Ahead of the trip to Villa Park, Youri Tielemans (calf) and James Justin have both resumed training but Sunday’s match may come too soon for the pair.
James Maddison is being treated for a glute issue following the midweek draw at Southampton but the midfielder is expected to be fit.