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Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers vows to get the best out of 'natural goalscorer' Vardy

11:06 GMT 03/03/2019
Jamie Vardy Leicester City 2018-19
The former England striker has failed to reproduce the form that helped Leicester to the title in 2016, and the new Foxes boss blames a lack of space

Brendan Rodgers says Leicester’s 2016 title win has affected the way opposition teams handle Jamie Vardy and has vowed to help the former England striker reinvent his game.

Vardy scored 24 goals during Leicester’s fairytale Premier League triumph, capping a remarkable rise from non-league football to the summit of the top flight.

He struggled to match that scoring rate the following season, netting just over half that number as the champions floundered in the bottom half of the table.

And new Leicester boss Rodgers believes that Vardy’s reputation as quick centre-forward capable of exploiting space has influenced the way teams defend against City.

"He is so natural at scoring," Rodgers said. "When I see the team we need to get players closer to him.

"The team has come deeper, the ball goes up to him and he's fighting on his own.  

"Because of the title win and everything around the threat of Jamie, space is no longer there all the time, especially at home. So when teams are banked up you have to find a way and a method that still exploits his qualities.

"It was something I spoke to him about at length on Friday morning before training, where we could get him into areas and how we were going to play against teams that just sit deep.”

Vardy returned to something like his best last season, scoring 20 league goals as Leicester finished ninth under previous boss Claude Puel.

The Frenchman was dismissed from his post last week with the Foxes languishing in the bottom half and fans putting the team under increasing scrutiny for a lack of consistency and invention.

Vardy has registered just nine goals in the league this term, but Rodgers has vowed to find a style of play that suits both the team and the attributes of their main goal threat.

"I will certainly give him other ideas and just simplify the game," Rodgers said.

"But you saw the other night (against Brighton) what he is - pass, makes the run and gets his finish.

"Away at Chelsea he comes in, [James] Maddison plays the pass, he makes a little blindside run and finishes.

"My teams have always been dominant about having the ball but having the ball to create opportunities. That's always been the clear way of my work."