Manager hails Souttar’s immediate impact at Leicester


2023-02-02 22:33:58

Harry Souttar has only been at his new Premier League home for a couple of days but Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is thrilled that the big man is already making a big impact.

Talking for the first time about the deadline-day signing of the $26 million defender, Rodgers was effusive in his praise of Souttar on Thursday as he related how he’d followed the trials, tribulations and progress of the 24-year-old Socceroo with admiration.

“Delighted,” said Rodgers, when asked about getting the Souttar deal – a record fee involving an Australian player – across the line on Tuesday.

“I saw Harry as a younger player, the trauma of him coming through the bad injury he had and then his performances for Stoke and at the World Cup,” explained the Foxes’ manager.

“I also talked to a number of people I really respect in the game who spoke so highly of him – and I can see why having now met him and spoken with him.

“He’s a young player on the way up, who’s done really well in the Championship and I saw him when I was up in Scotland (with Celtic) when he was a young player and now he’s coming in to show us his qualities in the Premier League.”

Rodgers believes Souttar’s physical prowess as one of the tallest players in the league will be able to help Leicester’s solidity at the back after a season in which they’ve struggled at set-pieces and conceded 35 goals, more than any other Premier League team this term apart from Bournemouth.

“He gives us that stature we’ve been looking for, but as you’ve seen at the World Cup, he can play football as well.

“So delighted to have him in and in just these first few days, he’s made a really good impact already.

“It’s about hunger as well. He was available and affordable for where we were at. If it wasn’t us, he’d have gone to another good club.

“He’s got experience but is on his way up. If you have the ability and thirst to learn, we’ll see great improvements in him. He fits the model.”

Whether Souttar will be ready to make his top-flight debut at Aston Villa on Saturday, though, remains to be seen as he’s still nursing a hip ailment.

“We just have to see about his hip issue,” said Rodgers. “He trained today with the squad. He’s one I need to assess.

“He’ll certainly be ready to go for the following weekend.”

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