Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers played a pivotal role in Jack Cork’s development in the embryonic stages of the midfielder’s career.
Claude Puel’s successor at the King Power Stadium inherited Cork as a teenager at Chelsea, taking him under his wing as both youth team and reserve team manager at Stamford Bridge.
During their time together in South West London, Burnley’s middle man enjoyed loan spells at AFC Bournemouth and Scunthorpe United, featured for the Blues’ first team on their tour of the United States and was capped for England from the under 16s through to the under 19s.
“He’s done brilliant and I owe a lot to him for the early part of my career,” said Cork. “He taught me a lot about my game at a young age.
“I learnt a hell of a lot and he brought through a lot of good players in the youth team. I was 16-years-old, he formed a good bond with us.
“He was good. He had good man-to-man management, always checking to see how you and your family was.
“He was really confident in the way he brought football across and the way he wanted to do things. It gave you confidence to do it on the pitch.
“He’s a great manager, who learnt from a lot of good managers at Chelsea. He’s someone who’s always constantly trying to improve.”
Following Rodgers’ move in to first-team management, Cork would be reunited with the Irishman at Vicarage Road in 2009 following a stint at Southampton.
Cork made 22 appearances for Watford at the back end of the campaign as the Hornets secured a 13th place finish in the Championship.
“I haven’t seen him for a while. I had him at Chelsea and Watford. He’d done well, he’s had a great career in management now, hopefully he’s successful at Leicester - just not against us.
“He gave me a chance at Watford to play first team football at a good level. I’ll always be grateful for that.
“It was great to work with the managers I’d worked with previously in a first team environment. We got out of relegation comfortably.”
Rodgers was on for an unprecedented ‘treble treble’ with Celtic before making the mid-season switch to take over the Foxes.
Cork, who has made one cap for the Three Lions, added: “He was always saying he’d manage a top club when he was younger, he was always saying ‘I’ll take you all with me’ and stuff like that. He did it.”