Brendan Rodgers condemns online abuse and warns players about social media use

Carl Markham, PA

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has condemned the racist and discriminatory abuse directed at footballers on social media and has advised players they should not be looking to the platform for validation of their performances.

Cases of abuse, particularly in terms of race, are on the rise and the Foxes boss said that should not be tolerated and urged the relevant authorities and companies to take the appropriate action.

However, he has warned his players they are likely to find further negativity on social media and that there will always be criticism of their personal performances, and told them they have to be prepared to deal with that aspect.

“There are probably a couple of sides to it,” he said.

“You have the racist stuff and discrimination which is not acceptable at all and that is something the Government and people in charge of the social media outlets have to get a handle on.

“The other side is you are going to get criticism, so you are going to have to be able to take it. If not, don’t go on it.

“You have to take the rough with the smooth. If you are only on there to receive gratification for everything you’ve done really well and the minute you don’t do something well and get criticised for it you crumble, then that’s not saying a great deal.

“If it is negative you have to accept it.

“I would say casually to players that if they need it, great, but if you don’t I don’t see why you would bother and don’t look for the gratification to see how well you’ve done just by switching on social media.”

While Rodgers wants his players to look after themselves online he has no intention of shielding striker Jamie Vardy from the rigours of the FA Cup after his recent groin operation.

The 34-year-old made his comeback after three matches out with a 30-minute substitute appearance in Sunday’s goalless draw at Wolves, and Rodgers wants to use Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Brighton to sharpen him up ahead of the weekend visit of Liverpool.

“Wednesday is a big game for us. He hasn’t lost too much fitness, that’s the reality of it. He’s got a great level of fitness,” he said.

“He’d obviously had the 10 days out, he’d trained a bit with the team, and then we gave him the half-hour.

“You can see what he brings to the team. We’ll definitely get him some minutes on Wednesday, whether that’s in the first period of the game, or the second, so he’ll feature at some point.

“We’ll make changes but it will be a strong 11. We have to consider the month of games and the early kick-off (against Liverpool on Saturday).”

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