Brendan Rodgers would ‘150 per cent’ drop players again for Covid breaches

·2-min read

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers insists he would not hesitate to drop players if there was a repeat of last season’s breach of Covid-19 protocols.

England midfielder James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez were left out of the squad for April’s game at West Ham for breaking the rules.

The Foxes lost the match 3-2 after conceding three goals in the first 48 minutes and ultimately missed out on a place in the Champions League on the last day of the season for the second year running.

Asked ahead of Monday night’s return to the London Stadium if he would drop players for a similar breach of discipline, Rodgers said: “100 per cent.

“You can be a decent person and be ruthless. We have a standard on and off the pitch which I demand, and part of that is you have to sacrifice and commit, and at that time those young guys fell short of that.

“I didn’t fall out with them, but it was not the professionalism we wanted at that time.

“They suffered because they were taken out of the squad and it helped us, maybe not on that day because we were missing some very good players, but it certainly helped in the future and those guys were accepted back into the group again.

“If you’re going to succeed and you want to be a top club you have to have discipline. It’s absolutely critical.

“Fingers crossed I never have to do it again, but (I would) 150 per cent. If the situation arises, we’ll deal with it whichever way we think is for the greater good of the team and the club.”

Rodgers said at the time that the trio would be able to restore their reputations on the pitch and both Perez and Maddison – as a second-half substitute – duly featured in the next game, the FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton.

All three also played in the FA Cup final as Leicester beat Chelsea 1-0 to lift the trophy for the first time in their history and Rodgers added: “It’s education. It’s all experiences.

“These are young guys who made mistakes. That’s what life’s about. We wouldn’t have wanted it at that time, but how you deal with it allows you to then move on.

“I’m pretty sure they have learnt their lesson and certainly it galvanised us and brought us closer together.”

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