Brendan Rodgers defends James Maddison over casino controversy

Brendan Rodgers has defended James Maddison after the Leicester midfielder was pictured in a casino following his withdrawal from the England squad last week.

Maddison was taken ill ahead of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in the Czech Republic on Friday and returned home.

The 22-year-old was then spotted on Friday evening in a casino while England were losing the match.

Maddison withdrew from the England squad through illness
Maddison withdrew from the England squad through illness (Nick Potts/PA)

Leicester boss Rodgers admits this was ill-advised but says some of the wider reporting around the incident, particularly with reference to Maddison’s character, is not true.

Rodgers, speaking at a press conference broadcast on Sky Sports News, said: “It was a difficult period for him, there is no doubt, because obviously what was portrayed in an article in the press was wasn’t quite how it was, which is not a big surprise.

“The kid went away with the international team, he took ill whilst he was away. He wanted to stay, and hopefully be ready for the second game, but the England medical staff – and you can understand it, he’s got flu – they don’t want it to spread his team-mates. They decide that it’s best for him to to to leave the camp.

“So he leaves. He gets some tablets with our guys here at the club. He feels better. He watches the game at home on his own on the Friday.

“And he then goes out at half-time. Probably he’ll make better decisions in his life, but he went to a casino on his own, to sit and watch the second half by a poker table.

“Now the suggestions are he left England purposely and then goes to casino – it’s totally not the case at all.

“But his eyes have been opened to the wider world now in terms of what he did. He knows in hindsight that he’s made a mistake.

“But I want to reiterate, because this is a player I have seen (of) in the last few months various stories around his arrogance, around his mentality. They’re totally false.

“I’m not sure where the stories are coming from, but it’s not what this boy’s about. He’s a very talented player, he has a belief in his ability. He is a wonderful personality on the field and he’s actually a really, really good boy off it.”

Vardy has also been thrown into the public eye
Vardy has also been thrown into the public eye (Peter Byrne/PA)

Rodgers, whose side are fourth in the Premier League and host Burnley on Saturday, has also offered support to striker Jamie Vardy and his family. Vardy’s wife, Rebekah, has been involved in a high-profile social media row with the wife of Wayne Rooney, Coleen, recently.

Rodgers said: “It’s something that is personal and outside of our remit. All we ever offer is the support to all the players and the families.

“So, obviously I was aware of what went on last week and I actually gave Jamie an extra few days to get away with his family, to have a rest, and I’m sure that was a difficult week for them.

“But, the legacy, we’re here to support him and his family when they need it. I spoke to Jamie earlier in the week, he’s trained fine, he’s been great this week and that is where we’re at.”

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