Leicester reporter notebook: Brendan Rodgers won't panic despite drop in form
Watch Everton vs Leicester on Sky Sports Main Event on Wednesday; Kick-off 6.00pm
By Rob Dorsett, Sky Sports News' Midlands correspondent
Last Updated: 01/07/20 7:59pm
Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett provides expert analysis and insight regarding Leicester's drop in form, discussing Brendan Rodgers, Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.
Leicester City are on course for one of the most successful seasons in the club's history.
However, two wins in their last 10 Premier League games would suggest there's been a notable dip in form. And there has been.
Ahead of their clash with Everton on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, our reporter evaluates what's going wrong at King Power Stadium...
The inconsistency of youth
Most coaches will tell you that, however good a young player is, it's difficult for them to be consistent.
The average age of Leicester's starting XI this season has been typically early-20s, with the key experience of Kasper Schmeichel, Jonny Evans and Jamie Vardy added to the blend.
But most of Leicester's go-to players are still learning their trade - Harvey Barnes is 22, Youri Tielemans, Ben Chilwell and James Maddison are all 23, Caglar Soyuncu is 24 and playing his first season in the Premier League. With inexperience like that, off-days are inevitable and the feeling around the camp is that recently, too many of Leicester's young stars have had off-days on the same day.
Chances drying up for Vardy
Vardy is Leicester's talisman, the man all his team-mates look to. He sets the tone. He's still the Premier League's top scorer with 19 goals, but - apart from his double against Aston Villa in the last game before lockdown - he hasn't scored since before Christmas.
That's a shocking statistic.
- Premier League table - as it stands
- Premier League fixtures - all confirmed dates and times
- Live Premier League games on Sky Sports
In truth, he hasn't missed many chances - he's only had four shots on goal in the entirety of the three games Leicester have played since football returned from the pandemic. That proves the service to him has been sadly lacking. The creativity from midfield has dropped.
At times, he has cut a forlorn figure chasing lost causes up front. And when Vardy is down-beat, it's no surprise to see his team-mates match his mood.
Has Maddison gone missing?
James Maddison is the linchpin of the Leicester side. Twelve months ago, amid all the clamour for him to receive his first England call-up, the stats said he was the most creative player in all the top European leagues.
He started this season brilliantly too - nine goals and three assists by the turn of the year. But since then, in 2020, he hasn't had an involvement in a single Leicester Premier League goal.
He looks sadly lacking in confidence - that swagger that characterised his style, is absent. He has been carrying a hip injury, which has hampered him for longer than most realise, and you suspect that Rodgers would have rested Maddison more, if he wasn't so crucial to the team, and if the manager had a player of similar quality on the bench.
We should remember this is only Maddison's second season in the Premier League, and to ask a 23-year-old to maintain those standards game in, game out, is a big ask.
Behind closed doors factor
Brendan Rodgers told me all Premier League sides are suffering from a lack of supporters - I think Leicester are suffering more than most.
The noise produced inside the King Power Stadium during their title-winning season led to a small earthquake that was registered as 0.3 on the Richter Scale, don't forget.
- £18 Premier League and Football channel offer
- Watch 39 Premier League & 45 EFL games exclusively live
And the 32,000 fans inside the stadium create an atmosphere which far outweighs their number. Rodgers admitted to me, with Leicester on top against Chelsea in the first half of Sunday's FA Cup quarter final, the sound would have been piercing and that might well have pushed the home players on to score an elusive goal. But no, the pendulum swung in the second half, and Chelsea won 1-0 in a silent theatre.
Rodgers will not panic
Rodgers is the epitome of calm - on the touchline, and at the training ground.
He's not one to smash the teacups. He's a 'quiet word in the ear' type of manager. So don't expect him to panic, or read the riot act to his young players. He told me this week it's all about rebuilding confidence, reminding the players just how good they are, and what has made them successful to this point.
He's said all along that this is a young squad, with lots still to develop - and whilst he admits this is the first sticky spell the squad have had since he took over as manager, he won't change his methods in order to chase a victory.
And he's still optimistic that all the current negatives will lead to future positives, with his young players better for the experience.