Premier League

Rodgers defends Maddison and says Leicester star is being stitched up

James Maddison was pictured enjoying a party in Dubai during the Premier League break, but Brendan Rodgers has backed the midfielder.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has thrown his support behind James Maddison and defended the midfielder's lifestyle choices.

Maddison was pictured partying in Dubai during the Premier League mid-season break, the period which has been devised to allow players a breather from a demanding campaign.

Yet manager Rodgers stressed there are no questions about Maddison's professionalism and claimed he had become a popular target for critics.

The Foxes star is in his second season with Leicester and has scored six goals in 24 Premier League games this term, leading to suggestions he could earn a Euro 2020 call with England.

According to Rodgers, the 23-year-old has been portrayed in an unjust light, but he might just have to get used to such treatment.

"It's unfortunate. We're supposedly in this great world now where everyone cares, this wonderful atmosphere where everyone wants to look after you," Rodgers said.

"It's rubbish because the first thing people do is try and stitch you up.

"It's contradictory, it's unbelievable. So there's something framed around him which, okay, he'll have to live with, but that's someone else's narrative.

"This is a 23-year-old boy who is single, he's been given a week free. We try to educate them in many ways, but this is something I'm not too bothered about."

Clubs have typically given players free rein during the break, trusting their judgement, and Rodgers has only positive things to say of Maddison's contributions for Leicester this season.

He has been such an impressive performer that Maddison has been linked with several rival clubs, including Manchester United.

"I can only judge him on my time here, nearly a year now," said Rodgers. "He's been absolutely brilliant for me. And outside of the pitch, he's been an absolute joy."

Leicester, who sit third in the Premier League, return to action when they face Wolves on Friday.

Rodgers will expect Maddison to show no negative effects from his time out of the country, outlining what he requires from his players, even when away from the club.

The former Celtic and Liverpool boss said: "There's two different mindsets, a social mindset and a professional mindset.

"The top ones, professionally, have the mentality to do it every single day and look after themselves and then produce."