Youri Tielemans is among the most professional players Brendan Rodgers has ever worked with, says the Leicester City boss – who is happy with his mindset amid transfer links away.
Tielemans has been dominating Leicester news in recent weeks. The midfielder is out of contract in 2023 and recently confessed to keeping his options open. He could either sign a renewal or seek a transfer elsewhere.
Leicester beat many top European sides to his signature nearly three years ago. Now, clubs of that elite stature are sniffing around again. As many as seven are believed to be in the hunt, including Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
Rodgers has always been confident that Tielemans’ situation will not be a distraction for him or any of his teammates.
And he was asked again about the Belgian at his pre-match press conference in view of Leicester’s clash with Arsenal.
“I think he’s progressing well, he’s doing very well,” said Rodgers.
“He came in January 2019 and he has progressed into one of Europe’s top midfielders. He’s only going to get better. An incredible professional.
“His mindset is to work at the highest level. He’s progressing and that’s what you want to see in your players.
“It will come with even more experience, even more games. He’s one of the best professionals I’ve ever worked with.
“His job is to create goals and score goals but he’s proven himself to battle physically in the league. He’s really worked on that aspect of his game.
“If you look across the board in terms of ideal footballers, being mentally tough, being intelligent, having bravery, having quality, he ticks every one of those boxes.
“At 24 years of age, he’s a brilliant player. He is so efficient in games.”
Rodgers hails ‘elite’ Jamie Vardy
Another of Leicester’s main men is Jamie Vardy, still going strong at the age of 34 despite younger competition from Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Vardy has a good record against Saturday’s opponents Arsenal and after confirming he is back in the squad despite a recent precaution against injury, Rodgers still views him as an inspirational player.
“He’s a remarkable player, with an elite mindset,” said the Foxes boss.
“You can also see the humility in wanting to keep working and playing. We’ve had to manage him too, to make sure he can play at a high level. There’s not many better players.
“To this point in his life he’s had a remarkable career, and is still an important reference point for the younger players, a catalyst for what we do.”
It will not just be Vardy and Tielemans upon whom Leicester have to rely on Saturday, though. Both these sides have found some form recently after mixed starts to the season.
Rodgers still believes there is margin for improvement and the Arsenal clash should give him a clearer idea of where his side are at.
“I think it’s one where we’ve got to concentrate. We have to focus on how we’re performing,” he added.
“We’re not quite at the heights but we’ve regained that spirit and commitment. We’ve seen the quality in spells.
“We’re not playing quite to the level we want or we are capable of but we’re returning to that and it’s a testament to the players’ mentality that we are getting victories.”