Barcelona legend inspired Hamza Choudhury’s ‘sensational’ Leicester City display.
Brendan Rodgers wanted his midfielder, Hamza Choudhury, to make his best impression of the former Liverpool and Argentina man after dropping into a centre-back role in the 4-1 win over Watford.
Rodgers told Choudhury he wanted to make him Leicester City’s own Javier Mascherano after forced to fill in at centre-back.
With injuries decimating City’s squad, Choudhury. was entrusted with a place in the defence for the 4-1 FA Cup victory over Watford on Saturday.
The homegrown midfielder was chosen for the role ahead of Lewis Brunt, a centre-back from the Under-23s, who instead made his debut alongside Your Tielemans in the centre of the park.
Choudhury’s pace prompted Rodgers’s decision, and when informing the 24-year-old on Friday night.
He mentioned Barcelona and Argentina legend Mascherano as an example for him to follow.
Mascherano started his career as a defensive midfielder, but after moving to Barcelona, he became a centre-half, despite only standing at 5ft 9in.
Hamza Choudhury made an excellent impression of the former Liverpool and West Ham man, with Rodgers
describing his performance as “sensational”.
Rodgers said, explaining his choice to play Choudhury in the defence.
“Yesterday, I said I was waiting to hear from our medical team on Timothy (Castagne), so we had to leave it to the last minute,”
“Yesterday evening, I got the message that he’s going to struggle to play. He’s got bleeding on the thigh.
“He’s had a dead leg, but it’s a bit more than that.
“The reason he was going to be playing at centre-half was that I like speed in at least one of the centre halves.
“So when he can’t play, I was thinking.”
Who is the next player that can go in?
“Hamza is someone who has played in a back three or a back two in training and played it very well, so I rang him up,
“And said: Tomorrow, you’re going to be the new Mascherano for Leicester!’ So we talked it through and talked through it today.
“I thought he was sensational in the game. Sometimes it happens like that for a midfield player stepping back.
“He was defensively quick, making interceptions and blocks, his recovery speed was incredible,
“And that’s why you always have quick players, especially how we play, squeezing the pitch.”
“His passing was excellent in the main as well, so I’m delighted for him.”
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