Brendan Rodgers praised Wesley Fofana’s mentality, following his goal to put Leicester City through to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.

Leicester lost 2-1 on the night, but Fofana’s goal upon his return put Leicester through 3-2 on aggregate.

The 21-year-old Frenchman has not played since breaking his leg in pre-season, but along with his goal to separate the teams on aggregate, quickly adapted to a tense European atmosphere.

Rodgers highlighted it was the mark of a top player.

"He’s an amazing player, that’s what top players do,” Rodgers told BT Sport post-match. "He’s only been back in training a few weeks but they want to go and head it and show that determination. That’s what we’ve missed for a lot of the season.

"That’s a top player’s mentality, he’s such a top prospect. Now he’s just got to try and build his fitness up. He was exceptional on the night."

With Lovro Majer back in the Rennes starting XI for the second leg, it was an unsurprisingly fast start and Benjamin Bourigeaud put them up after only eight minutes.

Fofana equalised on 51 minutes, handing Rennes a sizeable task to eventually turn the tie around. Rodgers was still critical of his side’s performance, but was nevertheless relieved progression was secured, given the opposition.

"I think with the ball we were really, really poor," he said.

"Our football in the game, especially in the first half, was nowhere near what I would expect. What we did show tonight was real character, especially with the players missing and lots of young players tasting this level for the first time. It’s character building for them.

"We had to show resilience. You can see they’re a good side, Rennes, so to get through is a fantastic feeling. We knew they were going to make a fast start and come after us.

"They got the early goal as well, but we showed a good mentality, a good concentration level."

Brendan Rodgers has announced Wesley Fofana will not play again until 2022 after sustaining a medial ligament injury in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal.

Fofana was carried off on a stretcher on Wednesday after a tackle from Fer Nino injured his left leg, with the centre-back later revealing on Instagram he had fractured his fibula.

The France Under-21 international is expected to undergo surgery on Monday, though the extent of the damage is worse than initially feared.

Following Leicester City's 1-0 Community Shield triumph against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, Rodgers provided a further update on Fofana.

"He has his operation on Monday and he won't play until 2022," the Leicester boss said in his post-match news conference. "At what point that will be we'll have to assess over the next six months or so.

"He's an incredible talent. He's in really good spirits. He'll be back in the training ground on Thursday or Friday next week and will begin his rehab then.”

Fofana became an integral part of Rodgers' team following his arrival from Saint-Etienne.

Out of all Premier League defenders, Fofana was just one of two to attempt at least 50 tackles, complete 50 interceptions and produce 50 headed clearances – Aston Villa's Matt Targett being the other.

"It's such a shame for the Premier League not to have a talent like that and certainly for us as well," Rodgers continued after Kelechi Iheanacho's late penalty had defeated the reigning Premier League champions.

Asked for clarification as to whether the defender had broken his leg, Rodgers responded: "In and around his medial ligament there was a lot more damage than we had hoped, quite substantial damage unfortunately."

While Leicester will be without Fofana for the remainder of the year, they will be buoyed on by the return of Harvey Barnes.

Barnes, who scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 top-flight fixtures last term, suffered a setback in April with a knee injury ruling him out of the remainder of the season and subsequently contention for England's Euro 2020 squad.

"Unfortunately, I had to watch the amazing scenes [in the FA Cup final]," the 23-year-old told ITV after Saturday's win. "This time, to be on the pitch and be a part of it was amazing.

"I don’t think we approached it as a friendly. It’s a chance to win some more silverware – and something we’ve not won before. We knew it was a great opportunity to win something before the season started, so we’re over the moon with it.

"It’s obviously been a tough few months for me. It’s amazing to be back out there now. This is the first competitive game I’ve played in and for the fans to be back in at Wembley was special. I’m feeling really good and looking forward to the season now."

Wesley Fofana suffered a potentially serious injury on Wednesday as he left the pitch on a stretcher during Leicester City's pre-season friendly against Villarreal.

The defender was carrying the ball forward when he was caught by a lunging slide tackle from behind by Fernando Nino, forcing the Frenchman off injured on the hour-mark at the King Power Stadium.

Paramedics and Leicester's physios immediately rushed on to tend to Fofana before carrying him off on a stretcher and Brendan Rodgers was visibly frustrated with both the Villarreal dugout and players on the pitch.

The details of his injury remain unclear but it potentially leaves Leicester, who are already without the injured Jonny Evans, another defender short just 10 days before the Premier League campaign begins.

Having joined from Saint-Etienne in September 2020, Fofana impressed in his debut season as he made 28 appearances for Rodgers' men, who missed out on Champions League football at the final hurdle.

Despite missing 10 top-flight fixtures, Fofana ranked third for the Foxes in terms of duels won (183), second for aerial success (91) and joint-first for interceptions with Wilfried Ndidi (61 each).

Leicester were leading 3-0 at the time, though only finished as 3-2 winners over Villarreal, with the La Liga outfit pulling back two late goals.

The Foxes, who won the FA Cup against Chelsea last term, have now completed their final pre-season game and next face Manchester City in the Community Shield on Saturday.

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