Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers before the match against Valencia last week. Photo: REUTERS/Juan Medina

LONDON – Brendan Rodgers took a signficant step closer to a return to managing in the Premier League as Celtic “very reluctantly” granted him permission to talk to Leicester City.

The 46-year-old Northern Irishman - who has not coached a Premier League team since being sacked by Liverpool in October 2015 - is in talks about filling the vacancy left by Claude Puel, who was sacked on Sunday.

Rodgers, who came agonisingly close to landing an elusive Premier League title for Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, has rebuilt his reputation in Scotland guiding Celtic to an historic double treble in two seasons and are on course for a third one this term.     

However, not even the lure of that - and getting the better of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard who played under him at Liverpool - has been enough to deter him from meeting with the Leicester hierarchy. 

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“Celtic Football Club today confirmed that it has been approached by Leicester City FC to speak to Brendan Rodgers with regards to their current managerial vacancy,” read a Celtic statement on their website.

“Brendan has indicated to the Club that this is an opportunity he wishes to investigate further and therefore, very reluctantly, the Club has granted him permission to speak to Leicester City.”

Brendan Rodgers (right) has not coached a Premier League team since October 2015. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters
Brendan Rodgers (right) has not coached a Premier League team since October 2015. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

Puel was dismissed after 16 months in charge following Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Crystal Palace.

The 57-year-old Frenchman left the club 12th in the Premier League having lost five of their past six league games and just eight points above the relegation zone.

He had been praised for his dignified leadership in the wake of the death of the popular owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in a helicopter crash outside the club's King Power stadium in October.

First-team coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler were put in temporary charge. Leicester play Brighton at home in the Premier League on Tuesday.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)