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Brendan Rodgers backs Caglar Soyuncu to replace Harry Maguire

Brendan Rodgers backs Caglar Soyuncu to replace Harry Maguire
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The 23-year-old was behind Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan in the pecking order last season.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers hopes central defender Caglar Soyuncu can find the consistency to become a success at the King Power Stadium.

The Turkey international was signed by former manager Claude Puel last summer from German club Freiburg for a fee reported to be worth around £19million but made just six appearances during the 2018/19 campaign.

He might have been set for a loan move had it not been for the sale of Harry Maguire to Manchester United this month.

As it is, the 23-year-old started the opening game of the Premier League season and impressed as Leicester kept a clean sheet in a goalless home draw with Wolves.

Soyuncu is expected to play a bigger part this season and Rodgers has challenged the centre-half to maintain the standard he set last weekend.

"He made a great first appearance," said Rodgers. "In my time while I've been here, I've recognised that he's a very good player.

"He's had that first year where he's had to adapt, where there were a lot of good players playing in front of him – Jonny (Evans) and Harry (Maguire) and Wes (Morgan).

"But you could see in his training and how focused he was that if the opportunity came then he could take it and I felt he was outstanding last weekend – he and Jonny were.

"Firstly, he can defend and he's aggressive. He wants to attack the ball. But he's a modern-day centre-half where he's comfortable on the ball and can read the game.

"I thought he did very well but he needs to be consistent and show what a really good young player he is."

Soyuncu should start successive Premier League matches for Leicester for the first time when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Rodgers' former club Chelsea on Sunday.

The Blues are under a transfer embargo and sold talisman Eden Hazard over the summer to Real Madrid.

Former player Frank Lampard is now in charge and he has endured a tricky start to his reign with a 4-0 loss at Manchester United and defeat to Liverpool in the European Super Cup.

However, despite Chelsea's difficulties, Rodgers expects a stern test for his side.

"Don't forget, this is a team that finished third last season and won the Europa League. I think that tells you everything you need to know about the talent in the squad," said Rodgers, who coached at Chelsea for four years during Lampard's illustrious playing career with the Blues.

"They are a very good side and it will be a difficult game for us. They will be looking to put on a good performance in Frank's first home game in charge.

"But I'm looking forward to us trying to build on our performance last week. I think there'll be more space for us to play at Stamford Bridge, although Frank will want his team to be on the front foot, dominate and play at a tempo. It should be a good football game."

Demarai Gray was left out of the matchday squad last weekend despite being fit and Rodgers, who has no injury issues, must decide whether to include the winger on Sunday.

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard before the match on August 11, 2019
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