Brendan Rodgers hopeful of Jamie Vardy making swift return from groin surgery

PA

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is hopeful Jamie Vardy will heal quickly from groin surgery but is confident he has the cover to cope in his absence.

The striker has had an operation on a long-standing hernia problem and last week Rodgers said he would be sidelined for “a few weeks”.

Vardy had not scored in his previous five matches before the decision was taken for medical intervention but, in their first match without him, the Foxes put three past Championship side Brighton in the FA Cup.

“After his operation there was a timeline on it. He’s a little bit sore as you’d expect but we hope he’s a quick healer and he’ll be back soon,” said Rodgers.

“There is a lot made when Jamie doesn’t play, he’s one of the best in the league, but our development as a team is about the collective.

“We have scored 53 goals over the course of the season so far: Jamie has 13 and 40 of our goals have come from other people.

“He’s a big miss, of course he is. You’ll see in the games that Vardy hasn’t scored in, we’ve won five and drawn two. We can’t be reliant on one player.

“Barnsey (Harvey Barnes), Madders (James Maddison), Youri (Tielemans) are chipping in. Ayo (Ayoze Perez) I know will score goals.”

Perez got the nod up front on Sunday but will face competition from Kelechi Iheanacho.

The pair have five goals between them but Rodgers felt that was a reflection of having to play second-fiddle to Vardy.

“He (Perez) hasn’t featured as much this season and that has been unfortunate but part of that has been the form of the team,” added the Foxes boss.

“We’ve had Jamie in that central role, so we’ve had Ayoze out wide, a position he is comfortable in.

“He’s been a very important player for us. It might not feel that for people watching but he will play a really pivotal role for us in the second part of the season.

“Whether it’s him, or Kelechi (Iheanacho), or someone else, the responsibility for goals is with the team.

“Kelechi has made a great impact coming into games. He doesn’t play as much as a striker needs to get that rhythm but he contributes.”

Rodgers said he had no new information on Crystal Palace being linked with a move for Demarai Gray.

“I haven’t heard anything new today. There is nothing now on that. He trained this morning and trained very well,” he said.

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