"Got big potential"; Rodgers' glowing verdict on Celtic-linked Sidnei Tavares

By David Walton

March 10, 2021

Brendan Rodgers has provided a promising verdict on Celtic-linked Sidnei Tavares after he made his first Premier League start at the weekend.

The Leicester City youngster is out of contract in the summer. The Scottish Sun reported back in January that Celtic were one of the clubs taking a look at him. However, Barcelona are said to be the favourites should he decide not to pen a new deal.

Yet despite his contract situation, the young midfielder is still clearly in Rodgers’ plans. After plying his trade with the under-23s, the former Celtic boss has been putting faith in the youngster recently.

Tavares made his debut in a 10-minute outing against Slavia Prague two weeks ago. He then followed that up with a 13-minute Premier League debut against Burnley. And on Saturday, he managed his first ever Leicester start vs Brighton. And it’s clear to see that Rodgers is impressed with what he brings to the table.

“He got a round of applause”

As quoted by the Leicester Mercury, Rodgers said: “He wants the ball, he wants to play, he has a lovely view of the game, so he’s got big potential. I thought he did very well. A couple of times he lost it purely because of the speed of the game. But other times, he took the ball, played forward, he had a great strike that was unlucky, and showed his running ability off the ball.

“I’m delighted for him. There’s a lot of work for him still to do, but it’s always nice to see a young player making their first appearance. He got a round of applause from the players in the changing room afterwards which tells you everything about his contribution. Now he can get his head down, focus, and hopefully make an impact.

“I watched a youth team game when I first came to the club, he played in it and he really impressed me. He hasn’t played a great deal for our under-23s teams but he’s 6ft 3ins, he’s a good mover, he takes the ball. He’s a player who I think has big potential.”

Rodgers clearly doing his best to entice Sidnei Tavares to stay

It’s interesting that the Portuguese youngster is starting to get senior minutes at this stage. When he’s only several months away from the end of his contract.

From the outside looking in, it appears to be Rodgers’ away of trying to entice Tavares to remain down south. A way of showing him that there’s a route he can take to senior football with Leicester. And that he’ll get opportunities immediately if he commits to the club.

It’s a different plan than we would be used to seeing at Celtic. The likes of Karamoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex, two youngsters whose contracts run out in the summer, haven’t seldom made any matchday squads.

Reported Celtic target Sidnei Tavares / (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Yet even if Tavares decides to leave Rodgers’ side, Celtic doesn’t look like his next destination. We have to respect the level of clubs that appear to be interested in the midfield talent. With Barcelona, Juventus, Porto, and Bayern Munich all said to be keeping tabs on him [Scottish Sun], we have to be realistic.

And it’s not as if we’ll be getting any guarantees on his quality or potential. Tavares only has three senior appearances in football to his name. He would also be joining a position flooded with talent and competition.

We’ll see what happens with this one come the summer time. But with Leicester making their move and the big names linked with him, it seems unlikely.