Youri Tielemans is now Leicester Metropolis’s full midfielder, explains his supervisor Brendan Rodgers | Soccer Information
When Leicester takes on Liverpool on Saturday, the most complete midfielder on the pitch will wear the home team’s blue at King Power Stadium rather than the champion’s red.
Youri Tielemans was the core of his team’s success.
Jürgen Klopp had a title-winning midfield full of players who worked hard and were tactically smart. He signed Thiago over the summer in hopes of adding technical skills. But Tielemans fuses the lot and now plays a deeper role under Brendan Rodgers.
Everyone in football knew about Tielemans’ potential. After all, he made his Anderlecht debut when he was only 16 years old. But he came into the Premier League with something to prove.
“He was a talent when he came from Monaco, but in the end he didn’t play in Monaco which is why the club won him,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.
He impressed quickly and was considered a bargain when his loan switch became final in the summer of 2019. As an old head on young shoulders, he had actually been captain in Monaco for a short time and soon established himself as part of the Leicester leadership group.
You have to remember that he is still so young. “He’s 23 years old, but if you watched him you’d think he was 28 or 29,” Rodgers says. “He has a wonderful football brain. For a 23-year-old player, I trust him in the game. Tactically he is so strong. Technically he can play quickly because his vision is so good.”
It was Tielemans’ quick thinking that enabled Kelechi Iheanacho to claim the late winner over Brighton in the fifth round of the FA Cup Leicester on Wednesday night. Wolves also had many examples of its quality on Sunday.
Within four minutes there was a Cruyff turning away from anger. Moments later, he brought the ball down from the sky with ease. Later in the first half, he volleyed his left foot forward for the first time to keep the attack pressure on the opponents. Towards the end of the game, there was another memorable moment when his first touch slipped him away from Ruben Neves.
But perhaps his most telling stake came on the hour when he attacked Adama Traore with a clever tackle to keep the Wolves winger from breaking off on the counterattack.
This defensive side of his game has evolved over time.
“We talked to him a lot about the physicality of the Premier League so we could better demonstrate his qualities,” said Rodgers. “As he has adapted to the Premier League and the speed of the game, you only see his football. It’s sensational.
“He’s competitive and can now keep up physically. It took some time because of the speed of the game when you’re from Europe. It’s a completely different intensity.”
Tielemans covered more ground at Molineux than any other Leicester player, just as he had done before when he left everyone on the pitch in the win over Fulham.
He has become physically robust, started all but one Premier League game and fell off the bench in the other. That ability to deal with it physically has allowed Rodgers to put him in a deeper role this season, which has only helped show the breadth of his talent.
“When I came in he was playing eight and I played him up there with James [Maddison]”says Rodgers.
“Then we had a slight adjustment, because when we didn’t have the physicality of Wilf [Ndidi] On the team at the beginning of the season we played with a double pivot again, so that he and Papy [Mendy] could cover the ground. “
Tielemans did a good job defensively. He is runner-up in the Premier League when it comes to recovering balls from midfielders, behind the obviously more destructive Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The fact that Tielemans can do this now made the change of position possible, but it wasn’t the only factor in Rodger’s thinking. Playing deeper suited him when he was in possession too.
“It should also allow his reach so he could take the ball from a lower position and serve it. From time to time he could still break forward and release himself towards the goal. This role suits him perfectly. We saw him . ” play it with belgium. He’s a wonderful playmaker and he really makes the whole team play. “
Tielemans is one of the five best midfielders in the Premier League, goes into the last third and goes through. He is the prompter from the middle of the field. Rodgers only sees it as the beginning. He can be at the top of the game for another decade.
“He was clearly talented, but he’s a young player who I really enjoyed seeing his growth in this league. He’s a super professional. He leads his life to the player. He takes care of his young family. Come here to prepare and is solely focused on soccer and family.
“He’s a real pleasure to work with and he’s become a very, very important player. He’s at the top with the best midfielders in the Premier League and only getting better.”
Liverpool and every other club in Europe can only watch jealously.