After George Hirst’s move to Leicester City last summer via a season at the Foxes’ feeder club in Belgium – a diversion which robbed Sheffield Wednesday of the multi-million-pound pay-out they would have received from a direct transfer – it would have been reasonable to assume the pair weren’t on the friendliest of terms.
But the fact the two teams reconciled for a friendly in Loughborough on Saturday should not have come as any real surprise – not least to fans of Swansea City.
It was, of course, at Swansea that the respective Leicester and Wednesday managers, Brendan Rodgers and Garry Monk, were first acquainted. Rodgers was the boss who led the Welsh side into the Premier League, while Monk was the centre-back who captained them there.
And though the pair later went their separate ways – with Rodgers moving to Liverpool and Celtic before being lured to Leicester in March last year, and Monk managing Swansea, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City before he landed at Hillsborough six months later – their relationship has remained a strong one.
After spending a couple of days observing Rodgers’ methods at Celtic two years ago – between his roles at Middlesbrough and Birmingham – Monk even described the older man as a ‘good friend and mentor’, on Twitter.
A few days in snowy Glasgow visiting good friend & mentor, Brendan. Doing a fantastic job, BR! 👍🏻 pic.twitter.com/l4jo4JfCly
— Garry Monk (@GarryMonk) February 14, 2018
And it is possible, then, that a pre-season warm-up match is not the only gift given to Monk by Rodgers this summer.
Speaking to LCFC TV after the game, in which he included no fewer than 10 development squad players, the latter revealed that some of those could be loaned to Championship or League One clubs before next month’s transfer deadline.
“These guys are not 17, 18, a lot of them are 20 to 22, so they’re at a good age,” Rodgers said. “They’ve absolutely been superb since they’ve come in.
“Their attitude has been great. They’ve shown respect but they’ve played with no fear and looked to try to impress.
“There’s one or two like Sidnei (Tavares) who are younger than the others, he’s come in and done very well also.
“They’re a talented young bunch. Some of them will probably end up going out to Championship clubs and League One clubs to continue with their development as well.”
Given that Monk is, by his own admission, seeking a younger, hungrier and fitter squad this season, Rodgers’ comments should be music to his ears.
Especially when Leicester can count Harvey Barnes and Hamza Choudhury – both of whom are England Under-21 internationals – as well as Ben Chilwell – Chelsea’s £50 million summer recruit – among their academy’s recent graduates.
A Hillsborough return for Hirst, however, is probably out of the question.