The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Rodgers wants Foxes to be one of the top clubs


Brendan Rodgers wants to cement Leicester among the elite to ensure they keep their stars.

The Foxes are challengin­g for Champions League qualificat­ion for a second season ahead of today’s trip to top-four rivals West Ham.

Youri Tielemans is in line for a new contract, while injured duo Harvey Barnes and James Justin have also impressed this season.

The Foxes, third in the table, have sold Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell in the last three summers and Rodgers wants to end any desire players would have to leave the King Power Stadium.

“I’m a realist,” said Rodgers. “I’ve worked at big clubs and I understand the pull.

“It’s not just about the club, it is about the player. We want to be in a position where we can establish ourselves as a top club. You only do that by consistent­ly performing well.

“It’s an ongoing process. It’s one where you want to keep your best players, and if you have them in a contractua­l situation then you’re in a stronger position.

“However, if a player is desperate to leave and he’s still in a strong contractua­l position, you never want to keep players that don’t want to be here. Hunger is so important. If players are hungry and they’re coachable and they want to learn, then that’s the formula that allows you to progress as a club.”

David Moyes admits he will have to get “creative” in order to keep West Ham’s Champions League dream alive.

Injuries have robbed Moyes of two of his key players, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, for much of the run-in.

Antonio’s latest hamstring problem is a particular blow given Moyes declined the chance to sign a back-up striker in January.

But the Hammers boss has not been afraid to experiment this season, with varying degrees of success.

Left-back Aaron Cresswell has thrived as a third centre-half, rightback Ryan Fredericks has played in midfield, Mark Noble was tried as a No.10 and wingers Jarrod Bowen and Andriy Yarmolenko have led the attack.

Now Moyes must come up with a formula to beat Leicester, and move to within a point of the third-placed Foxes.

“We were always aware we could run into a situation like this,” said Moyes. “Up until now it has worked well, we’ve been in a good position with it. We’ll try and keep it going. We will have to look to see how it works.

“We need to be a bit creative. We’ll have enough options to keep everybody guessing about how we’re going to play.”

 ??  ?? Youri Tielemans, in action against Man City’s Rodri, is set to extend his stay at Leicester
Youri Tielemans, in action against Man City’s Rodri, is set to extend his stay at Leicester

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