Brendan Rodgers has launched a passionate defence of James Maddison’s lifestyle and insists the Leicester midfielder is the footballer all youngsters want to emulate.
The England international was pictured enjoying the Dubai nightlife during the Premier League‘s winter break but Foxes boss Rodgers has no concerns about the priorities of his midfield star, who Leicester hope will sign a new contract in the coming weeks.
Brendan Rodgers defended James Maddison and says the midfielder is a joy to work with
Stormzy posed with in-form Leicester duo Maddison and Ben Chilwell during the winter break
Rodgers said: ‘Some people are trying to portray him as something that he’s not. Thankfully, I know the reality – he’s top-class young professional who focuses on his game and wants to be better.
‘We’ve spoken about the mentality in training you need to arrive at that very top level, and how you sustain that. You see it in his performances and you see it in his numbers (goals and assists).
‘I can only judge him on my time here, nearly a year now, he’s been absolutely brilliant for me. And outside of the pitch, he’s been an absolute joy.
‘He’s a charming young man, really respectful. He really respects what he has here at Leicester. He’s a great boy. If you are a seven or eight-year-old watching the game you want to be James Maddison.
Maddison is a great role model and has been brilliant this season, insists Rodgers
‘You want to take free kicks like James Maddison. You want to have that way and that personality to play. You need that. You also need education and he’s brilliant.’ Maddison is the subject of strong interest from Manchester United, with Leicester hopeful he will agree to fresh terms worth double his current salary of about £50,000 a week.
Unless Leicester’s form collapses, they are likely to be playing Champions League football next season – ahead of Friday’s match at Wolves, they are third in the table, 10 points clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United.
On Maddison’s winter break, Rodgers added: ‘People want to fit a narrative around him so I don’t worry so much about that side. I know the reality of what he is and what he gives.
‘There’s something framed around him which 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.’
Maddison has been integral to Leicester this season and they are third in the table