Rodgers names only way Leicester star’s uncertain future can become problem

Date published: Wednesday 15th September 2021 5:21 - Samuel Bannister

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Brendan Rodgers says there is “no drama” surrounding the future of Youri Tielemans after the Leicester midfielder sparked some doubts in an interview.

Tielemans said he is keeping his options open in an interview this week in relation to a new contract. His current deal runs until 2023, which could put Leicester in a risky position next summer if he does not renew. And as a player who arrived as a club-record signing after being admired by more traditional powerhouses, talk of an exit has followed him around.

But Rodgers has put that to the back of his own mind, insisting he still sees commitment from the £35m man.

He said: “There’s no drama with it. It’s just the reality of the situation.

“It only becomes a problem to me if there’s a lack of commitment or there’s not the same intensity but that’s never been the case with Youri.

“It’s natural, he is a very talented player who is in discussions with the club and we’ll see where that takes us.

“I have no idea (why it is dragging on), I concentrate on the football and making sure he is the best player he can be, giving him the support, environment and culture to be that.

“He is a top-class professional and a joy to work with and while he is here – for however long that is – he will always give and I will always give the best to his development.”

Rodgers was speaking before the Europa League group stage opener against Napoli, which will take place on Thursday.

The target for them this season is to improve upon last season’s showing, when they reached the round of 16.

It is a sentiment Kasper Schmeichel feels strongly, with the club captain hungry for more success after their FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs over the summer.

Schmeichel said: “We are in a very good place, we have had a lot of recent success but that means you have a choice to make. Are you content with that or do you want to progress and move on?

“That’s what this club wants to do. The club continues to show it in the backing of the training ground, the expansion of the stadium and the transfer market.

“The club is always looking to improve. That’s the most important thing to me, when you are in an organisation which has had success the hunger is still there.

“You cannot become complacent and timid. That’s when you take the foot off the gas. We have always got to be looking for what’s next. We can’t use the past for anything, that past is done.

“There are many steps we can still take, we are looking to improve every day and this season is another opportunity.”

Schmeichel not focusing on others

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Napoli will prove to be a tough first opponent for Leicester, who nonetheless should fancy their chances of progressing from the group one way or another.

If they finish top, they will go straight to the round of 16. In contrast, if they come second, they will face one of the third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage in a play-off to reach that next round.

But Schmeichel is not sure about anyone being classed as favourites while the identities of the teams who may drop down into the competition remain unclear.

As such, he wants Leicester to focus on their own game.

Schmeichel added: “It’s never been our approach to look at others, we look at ourselves more than anything. When I look at our dressing room I have every reason to be supremely confident.

“There are top-class sides in this competition and others coming in from the Champions League. You can’t always say because you don’t know who is going to be coming into the competition.”

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