Leicester City tipped to challenge for top-four spot, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Leicester City tipped to challenge for top-four spot

Redknapp and Warnock say Leicester can challenge for top-four spot, but Rodgers urges caution

Former Liverpool players Jamie Redknapp and Stephen Warnock have warned the English Premier League's big guns to be wary of Leicester City this season.

They made the comments after the Foxes moved up to third in the league, following their 5-0 thumping of 10-man Newcastle United last Sunday.

It was a result achieved despite the absence of Leicester's highly coveted creative hub James Maddison, who missed out with an ankle injury.

A brace from Jamie Vardy and goals from Ricardo Pereira and Wilfred Ndidi, coupled with an own-goal by Paul Dummett, capped off Leicester's biggest EPL win.

Warnock said on the BBC: "I firmly believe Leicester have a very great chance of making the top four.

"Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are Leicester's challenge this season. I don't see Manchester United challenging for the top-four places.

"You have to fear this Leicester team and respect them - they have quality all over the pitch and on the bench.

"When Brendan Rodgers came to Leicester, I bet a lot of players thought they would improve. He improves players.

"Jamie Vardy has improved - you could see his movement today - he's more efficient and saving energy. It's causing defenders massive problems."

Vardy's brace means he has reached 85 EPL goals in fewer games (183) than Fernando Torres (212), Louis Saha (289) and Eden Hazard (245).

The 32-year-old former England international told Sky Sports: "You can see what we have been up to on the training field and are implementing the manager's plans.

"We have got lots of different ways to score, we used to be counter-attacking but (now) we have different dimensions in attack.

"You can see the way we are playing, we keep possession but play it fast and have an end product."

While Vardy's goals have been key for the 2015/16 league champions - he has five goals and an assist in seven EPL matches - Redknapp picked out Ndidi as key to the Foxes being the most exciting team in the league, besides EPL holders Manchester City and European champions Liverpool.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "Outside of Manchester City and Liverpool, who are on another level, Leicester are the most exciting team to watch in the league right now.

"They're full of quality, but for me, the key is Ndidi...


"When N'Golo Kante left, it looked like they were in trouble, but Ndidi has filled that role brilliantly, giving them so much balance and freeing up Youri Tielemans and James Maddison.

"Leicester have got everything going for them right now - the stadium, the fans, the fantastic manager Brendan Rodgers...

"They've made some astute signings and they can be a regular top-six side. Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs will be really worried about this Leicester team."

However, Rodgers has played down his team's chances of a Champions League spot.

"It's very early in the season... it's a big ask because of all the other clubs that have been regulars there," he told the BBC.

"We're only really focusing on how we play, looking at our performance levels."

The 46-year-old may be keen to downplay Leicester's strong start to the season, but it is hard to ignore his impact, reported Reuters.

Since taking over from Claude Puel in February, the former Celtic boss has transformed the club to raise fans' hopes of a return to European competition for the first time since the 2016/17 season.

Leicester have won 31 points since the Northern Irishman's first game in March - more than any other team in the league, barring City (46) and Liverpool (49), who they face next on Saturday.