Brendan Rodgers has welcomed the return of Jonny Evans to the Leicester City team ahead of Saturday’s game against Manchester United.
The defender played in the Foxes’ final match before the international break as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. His appearance in the 2-1 win over Brentford was his first of 2022, and Evans also represented Northern Ireland in a fixture against Luxembourg last week.
Rodgers is thrilled to have him back in contention, and confirmed the ex-United man is an option for Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday, as is his defensive colleague Wesley Fofana, and midfielder Marc Albrighton.
However, there was less positive news regarding Luke Thomas and Jamie Vardy, both of whom look set to miss out at the weekend.
Speaking in Thursday pre-match press conference, Rodgers said: “Players are starting to come back now, which is great. Jonny Evans will be available, whether he can start or comes off the bench, we’ll see.
“But it’s great to have him back and he’s had 60+ minutes with the international team and looks very good. We’ll have to build him up. Wesley will be back involved as well.
“Luke Thomas picked up an injury with the [England] 21s, so he’s a doubt for the weekend. Other than that it’ll be the same squad [as against Brentford]. Wilfred Ndidi will be out for the season, which is a real shame.”
Asked for a further update on Thomas, Rodgers said: “I think he’ll struggle for the weekend. He had an initial issue with his hamstring.
“They had a look at it with England but felt he probably wasn’t going to be available for the game so they sent him back and he continued his rehab here.”
As for Vardy, he was always a major doubt for the game after a knee problem, and Rodgers said: “We’ll see. We just work day by day really. He’s certainly not fit for the weekend but we’ll assess it over the next week or two weeks.”
The former Liverpool manager also confirmed Albrighton would be available after missing the Brentford win two weeks ago.
‘Top-level Evans set to return’
Centre-back has a position of concern this season, with Evans, Fofana and Jannik Vestergaard missing long periods through injury, meaning Thomas Amartey has often been deployed in the role alongside Caglar Soyuncu.
But those problems seem to have been elevated for the Foxes, and Rodgers is delighted to have Evans’s presence back in the matchday squad.
“It’s very important. Jonny is a player who’s had a real influence on my time here. He’s the one player who has played at the very top level, all the way through his career and he has the view of the very highest level.
“Not only that, he practises that every day. His standards are top level. His influence on our team is huge. He’s not 100% match fit yet, but we’ll work on getting that by the end of the season. It’s a big plus to have him available as well as Wesley and the other guys.”