Leicester are currently enjoying a tremendous start to the season under Brendan Rodgers.
The Northern Irishman has the Foxes playing some of the most entertaining football in the division and they head into this weekend’s clash against Liverpool sitting in third place, just two points behind Manchester City.
This week Football FanCast caught up with one of their former defenders, Steve Walsh, to talk about their star men and what the future might hold.
Walsh was speaking on behalf of GentingBet as he revealed whether he thinks those that have attracted interest in the past might depart, as well as providing his thoughts on a number of other talking points.
James Maddison has been one of the stand out performers for Leicester and last season he created 100 chances for his teammates. It was a tally that eclipsed some of the best in the league and understandably he’s been linked with a move away.
One of the clubs reportedly interested in him are Manchester United but Walsh thinks that if they came calling, he wouldn’t go. He exclusively revealed to FFC: “I think he’d stay. He’s a grounded lad who understands the loyalties in the game. I think he’s one of those that will definitely stay at Leicester for a few seasons.”
He also expressed the following: “James Maddison could fit into any of the top six teams. I believe that he is thankful to Leicester that they’ve given him a chance from Norwich and he’s really set the season alight. There’s always rumours that a team is interested in James Maddison but I believe that he’s happy here and he’s showing that in games.”
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Another player to be linked with a move away during the summer was Ben Chilwell.
The young left-back caught the eye of Manchester City but Walsh echoed similar thoughts about whether he’d stay or not: “Ben is going from an academy into a first-teamer at Leicester and then into England so his progression and his pathway is determined by Leicester at the moment.
“I think he’d be silly to move. Money talks, though, we’ve seen it with Harry Maguire. I think Ben Chilwell is happy here with his football amid rumours obviously of teams coming in.”
The ex-defender did suggest he’d command a large fee, though: “They know what the players are valued at. I think that Leicester know what figures would come in and that from a financial point of view there does have to be a lot of money for Ben because he’s a young up and coming player and he’s with England.”
Leicester have a number of players who are in form at the moment, not least Ricardo Pereira who now has two goals in his last two outings. He’s carried on where he left off last term when he won the club’s Player of the Year award.
Speaking about him, Walsh explained: “He’s been outstanding, he really has. He’s a top top player and when you’ve got ability that he’s got, interest will show. I think all the players at Leicester are fairly happy. They’re happy with the style of football and the manager and they’re settled.”
Moving onto a player who’s just joined, Dennis Praet is someone who looked neat and tidy against Newcastle last Sunday as he completed over 89% of his passes. He stepped into the number ten role ahead of Maddison who was injured.
If the young midfielder is fit to face Liverpool, then a dilemma could be on Rodgers’ hands over who might play where. The Man United target has already played out on the wing this term so could play there.
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Giving his verdict on the situation, Walsh expressed: “It’s a bit of a headache for the manager at the moment with what he does. He’s [Praet] done himself a lot of good in that performance.
“There’s tough competition and we’ve got a game at Liverpool coming up so it’s all geared for that game. He’s definitely in the picture and he’ll definitely be in the manager’s thoughts without a doubt.”
Someone else that’s caught the eye since Rodgers walked through the door is Hamza Choudhury.
The midfielder was impressive in two games against Chelsea last season but has only been a bit-part of his plans in 2019/20 after playing at the European U21 Championships.
That being said, Walsh told FFC that he’s destined for big things.
When asked if he could challenge for a spot in the England set-up, he exclaimed: “Yes, he can. Hamza has come through the academy and it’s great to see homegrown players. He’s a player with great tenacity, he reads the game well and he’s an up and coming star for Leicester.
“He’s threatening to start every game at the moment so again it’s a good option for Brendan Rodgers.”
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The 22-year-old is one of a number of players who could play a key role in the project Leicester are building at this moment in time. Whether that includes European football or not remains to be seen but there is a real chance bearing in mind the fortunes of some of the regular top six.
Walsh was quick to pick up on just how big a chance Rodgers’ men have: “There’s an opportunity this year – with Man United, you’ve got Arsenal at the back who are a little bit suspect and Chelsea’s embargo.
“There’s a great opportunity for other teams and Leicester that could challenge for the top four, let alone the top six. Leicester would be happy with a top-six place if they could but there’s a long way to go.”
He did admit, however, that it would be a chance missed if they didn’t end up in a Europa League spot at the very least: “I believe that if they miss out, it will be an opportunity missed amid that group of teams, but you’ve got Wolves there too and West Ham. These are all teams that will be pushing week in, week out and Leicester are among those.”
Just where Leicester finish this season will be intriguing to see but they certainly have a tremendous chance of breaking into the top six. For that to happen they’ll have to keep their best players, something Walsh seems confident they’ll do.