Brendan Rodgers admires how Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall conducts himself on and off the field and believes the midfielder is a Leicester captain-in-waiting.
Dewsbury-Hall did not make his senior debut until he was 21 and then had loan stints with Blackpool in League One and Luton in the Championship, but he was awaiting a first Premier League appearance at the start of this campaign.
Now 23, Dewsbury-Hall has been a major beneficiary of Leicester’s injury problems this season and has been an ever-present in the top flight since making his maiden start against Aston Villa three months ago.
While the ballast he gives to Leicester in the middle of the park was hailed by Rodgers, the Northern Irishman is just as impressed at the academy product’s maturity and confidence off the pitch.
Rodgers said: “He’s a real throwback for me, he’s a real all-round midfield player for me: one that can get up and down but also put his foot in. He loves a tackle, which helps. He’s a proper midfield player.
“What’s surprised me is the consistency of his performances. But he’s so hungry to prove himself and for me he’s done it in the big games and he’s doing it consistently. He’s just been so wanting this chance.
“I think he’s a captain at some time in the future here. He leads, he inspires, he’ll give a voice and he’ll say what he thinks. He’s also very respectful and very humble. He’s a great ambassador for the club and the academy.
“I liked him from when I first came in. He gives us balance in the team, gives us legs, gives us quality, gives you the desire and at times lifts the team and that’s a sign of a really good player.”
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Leeds was Dewsbury-Hall’s 16th Premier League appearance this term and an 11th successive start, being given the nod to appear from the off after an encouraging cameo at Southampton last December.
Rodgers said: “He probably should have been out earlier, but he didn’t get out on loan until he was 21, so he didn’t feel that pressure. But the plan worked for him.
“He got playing in League One and then he went into the Championship – I had so many managers ring me up from the Championship wanting to take him – and he knew he was trying to make up for lost time.
“I just said to him in the summer ‘you’ll get some cup games and European games then work your way through and prove the point every day in training’.
“His big moment came away at Southampton when he came in and made the difference and from then he’s not looked back, he’s been absolutely brilliant.”
As for whether an England call-up beckons for Dewsbury-Hall, Rodgers said: “Time will tell.”
Leicester were second best for large spells against Leeds, but Harvey Barnes’ angled finish midway through the second half was decisive as Jamie Vardy started for the first time in 2022 following a hamstring complaint.
Vardy was substituted just after the hour mark and Rodgers added: “His leadership, when he’s on the pitch we just look at a different team.
“Having that personality and that acuteness of the game, his name on the team sheet is massive for us because there’s confidence and that’s just a mark of the great striker that he is. It’s great to have him back.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.