(Reuters) - In-form striker Jamie Vardy and some of his Leicester City team mates will have to be rested a during a potentially crucial run of Premier League matches because of a “nonsense” festive programme, manager Brendan Rodgers said.
Vardy has not missed a single league game so far this season and is the competition’s top scorer with 16 goals in 17 matches.
Second-placed Leicester host leaders Liverpool on Dec. 26, face a trip to West Ham United two days later before travelling to Newcastle United on New Year’s Day.
When asked whether Vardy could cope with the physical demands of the festive schedule, Rodgers replied: “No chance.
“You play on the 26th, a high-intensity game against Liverpool, fighting for the result. In football, it’s the second day where the players suffer.
“You get that first day of recovery but it’s the second day where it’s really tough for a player. If we go along that route then the second day, instead of recovering, we’re kicking off at 5.30pm at West Ham. It’s just nonsense really.
“It’s unfair on players and on supporters, they are paying hard-earned money and they want to see the best level of games.”
Rodgers also bemoaned the English winter break, with each team getting a weekend off in early February.
“It’s a ‘Let’s pretend to have a break’,” he told a news conference.
“When I was in Scotland (with Celtic)... you play a game on New Year’s Eve, and then you have a three-week break.
“I don’t think this is that at all. This year they’ve wanted to do it, and they’ve had a little play at it.”
Leicester, who are currently on a nine-game unbeaten run in the league, visit defending champions Manchester City later on Saturday.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis