Rodgers weighs in on Maddison's casino 'mistake' during England game

The Leicester manager has been talking up the qualities of a playmaker who is back in the England squad and sparking reports of interest from afar

Brendan Rodgers has defended Leicester midfielder James Maddison from criticism after the he was pictured in a casino during England's Euro 2020 qualifying loss to Czech Republic last week.

Maddison had been included in the Three Lions squad, giving him a chance to make his national team debut, but he had to pull out due to illness and returned to his homeland.

But while Gareth Southgate's men were playing out the 2-1 defeat in Prague, Maddison was spotted at a poker table in a casino, drawing criticism from the British press.

Southgate warned Maddison that he should be more careful to avoid attracting negative attention, saying there is "a different sort of spotlight on you and your private life" as an England player.

Rodgers has offered some support to the 22-year-old amid the controversy, however, and believes he will learn from the experience.

"The kid went away with the international team, he took ill," Rodgers told reporters. "It was decided it was best for him to leave the camp.

"Probably he'll make better decisions in his life, but he went to a casino on his own to watch the second half by a poker table.

"His eyes have been opened to the wider world now. He knows in hindsight that he has made a mistake."

Maddison was called a "Spice Boy" by former Leicester and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore, who said of the former Norwich man: “I also heard he was very, very confident and the sort of whom it could be said that: ‘If he was chocolate, he’d eat himself’."

But Rodgers feels Maddison has been treated unfairly since the incident, saying he has no complaints regarding the player's attitude or work rate.

"I've seen various stories about his arrogance, around his mentality, they're totally false," Rodgers continued.

"He's desperate to play for England, but doesn't feel entitled. It's really unfair, he's a really good boy, he's passionate, practises every day, and his dream is to represent England.

"He knows by playing well for Leicester that's going to give him a great opportunity. Until that happens, he's going to fight."

The Foxes face Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday with Rodgers' side currently flying high in fourth.