Soyuncu showing pleases Rodgers

Leicester City

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has praised Caglar Soyuncu for the manner in which he stepped up in Sunday's 0-0 draw against Wolves.

The Foxes’ summer was dominated by the endless talk of Harry Maguire leaving the King Power Stadium and his move to Manchester United was confirmed last Monday.

With three days of the transfer window to go and a reported £80m in the bank from the Maguire deal, it was thought the club could move for a replacement.

Rodgers was linked with both Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Burnley’s James Tarkowski but no deal transpired, with the coach suggesting that the prices quoted were too high.

Instead, Soyuncu got his chance and performed well on Sunday alongside Jonny Evans at the heart of the back four as the Foxes took a point from the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign.

Speaking afterwards, the boss described the Turkey international’s performance as “excellent”, adding: “He got a round of applause at the end from his team-mates and it’s not easy to come in for a special player like Harry, but Caglar was strong and comfortable on the ball.”

Soyuncu was brought to King Power last summer, signing from Freiburg on a five-year deal after a couple of seasons in Germany. Before that he’d come through the ranks at Altinordu in his hometown of Izmir.

The partnership between Maguire and Evans limited his exposure last term, with club captain Wes Morgan often third in line should one of the first-choice duo be unavailable.

That limited him to just eight appearances in all competitions, leading to talk of a move away. However, the 23-year-old’s performance on Sunday suggests the shirt is his to lose ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leicester.

Croatia international Filip Benkovic is another option available in central defence and Rodgers knows him well having spent last term on loan at Celtic.

After speculation regarding Maguire dominating the 2018 summer window, there is a feeling Soyuncu and Benkovic were signed as long-term options. The pair seem to have settled in well after a year in the UK and the Foxes’ decision to buy two youngsters so that they were ready to step up once the England international left appears shrewd.

At 35, age is also catching up with Morgan and the board may see a Soyuncu-Benkovic defensive partnership as a long-term solution.

Rodgers was certainly glowing in his praise of the 24-cap Turk and he will hope to retain his place at Stamford Bridge.

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