The Warmdown: Leicester City edged out on penalties in first pre-season fixture as new signings and young talent catch the eye
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City in action with Lucas Akins of Burton Albion during the Pre-Season friendly between Burton Albion and Leicester City at Pirelli Stadium on July 24, 2021 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Leicester City began their 2021/22 campaign on Saturday afternoon with a friendly against Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's Burton Albion where they were beaten 3-1 on penalties at the Pirelli Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers opted to field two different XI's in either half, with all three of the Foxes' summer signings, Boubakary Soumare, Ryan Bertrand and Patson Daka featuring in the first 45 whilst the likes of Jamie Vardy, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Thanawat Suengchitthawon were given the second-half to build up their fitness.

In the first game back for both sides since government-imposed restrictions on attendances at football grounds had been lifted, there was a healthy crowd to watch on, with just shy of 2000 Leicester supporters making the short trip across to Staffordshire to watch their side in action.

Summer signing stands out 

Whilst it is still early days to read into anything, it seems that Leicester could well have a gem on their hands in the shape of midfielder Boubakary Soumare.

The France Under-21 international was brought to the club from Ligue 1 champions LOSC Lille for a reported fee of £20m and already looks like a shrewd piece of business.

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His calm persona in the middle of the park reflected in his style of play against the SkyBet League One side, with the youngster looking effortless at times.

With a desire to always look forward and spring the Leicester front-line into attack, it's clear to see that Soumare is already a significant upgrade on some of his fellow midfield counterparts and his addition to the squad will only make the Foxes better in the long-run.

Youngsters show no fear

Before Saturday it would have been unlikely that most Leicester fans would have heard of the name Tawanda Maswanhise, however his first-half performance certainly had fans talking about him come the full-time whistle.

The 18-year-old burst onto the scene in the academy last season and was given the nod by Rodgers to train with the first-team ahead of the new campaign and was given his first taste of senior football at Burton.

Playing in-front of Ryan Bertrand on the left-hand side, Maswanhise looked to cause problems every time he got the ball. With close-control dribbling and a burst of pace, he gave experienced defender John Brayford one or two problems to think about and certainly didn't look out of place.

Another fellow youngster, Kamal Sowah, also made a positive first impression in a Leicester shirt as he played on the right side of midfield in the second-half.

Having spent the last two-years on loan at the Foxes' sister club OH Leuven in Belgium, the young Ghanian has made a huge impression, with Rodgers a big admirer of the promising talent.

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The 21-year-old showcased his ability, bringing the ball down from a cross-field pass with ease before looking to drive towards the byline and cross into the box.

Combining well with right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell, who looked to overlap and get forward at every opportunity, it is clear to see why the Leicester boss is keen to get Sowah involved this season.

Whether he can become a first-team regular remains to be seen, but on his first audition with the seniors, he showed he isn't just here to make up the numbers.

Minutes in the tank will be vital for all

Even though the full-time result ended in defeat for Leicester, the minutes on the clock will prove to be far more valuable than the scoreline in the long run.

Whilst the Foxes were not at full strength, with some players still on holiday from their involvements at the European Championships and the likes of Harvey Barnes not involved, the chance to take to the pitch for the first time this season will have been a welcome return.

As it gets closer to the start of competitive football, Rodgers is more likely to select players who will be within contention of starting the Community Shield tie against Manchester City with the onus becoming more focused on the preparations for how they approach that game as oppose to just building up fitness.

From a performance perspective, it wasn't an absolute classic from the East Midlanders. Defensively, Leicester looked solid in both halves and were rarely threatened. In the forward line however, there would have been hopes that the Foxes could have posed more of a threat.

Daka looked isolated in the first 45, mainly feeding off scraps whilst in the second, captain Vardy struggled to make a huge impact, with most of Leicester's joy coming from the wide flanks, but the final ball delivery was not enough to test the resolve of the Burton backline.

Attention will now turn to Wednesday where Leicester will face more League One opposition, with recently relegated Wycombe Wanderers the opponents at Adams Park.