Friday 18 October 2019

Rodgers: I missed out on opportunity to work with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Khun Vichai, along with four others, was killed in a helicopter crash close to the King Power Stadium in October.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was cremated in Thailand last week (Mike Egerton/PA)
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was cremated in Thailand last week (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Sean Taylor, Press Association Sport

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers wishes he had the opportunity to work with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, having attended the cremation of the club’s former chairman during the international break.

Foxes owner Khun Vichai, along with four others, was killed in a helicopter crash close to the King Power Stadium shortly after Leicester’s 1-1 Premier League draw with West Ham on October 27.

Rodgers, who left Celtic to succeed Claude Puel as Foxes boss a month ago, was part of a delegation, which also included Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan and club staff, to travel to Thailand last week for the ceremony, which was presided over by the country’s king.

Although he never met the Thai billionaire, Rodgers paid tribute to the indelible mark he left on the club and the community of Leicester and feels he has “missed out” by not being able to work with Khun Vichai.

“It’s been a really emotional season for the club in many ways, particularly through his passing,” said Rodgers.

“For him, the staff and the players, we had a moral obligation to be there, not just for the club but for the community. What he gave this community, we will always be grateful for that. For us to be out there, was to show respect on behalf of everyone.

“It was a very emotional time, but also a very inspirational time. The service that we went to, it made you understand even more how important he was.

“As someone coming in from the outside, I got to know him, Khun Vichai the man, but I feel as a manager that I’ve missed out working with someone with the values he had and the wisdom and knowledge.

“Now it is very important in terms of his legacy to take the values he had and impose them at the club, and use them as a symbol at the club to grow and develop.”

Leicester resume Premier League action at home against Bournemouth on Saturday, with Rodgers looking for a third-straight victory as Foxes boss.

“My intention when I came in was to finish the season strong and then get a pre-season behind us,” he said.

“This game will be a test for us as Bournemouth are a very good team, a very consistent team with good speed in their side and a lot of dynamic players. Bournemouth’s strength is their team, they work very hard.

“Eddie Howe has done a tremendous job in his time there, taking them through the levels, and they have been able to sustain their Premier League status and are now very much an established Premier League club.

“They have a core of players who have come through on the journey and understand what it is to play for Bournemouth.”

Rodgers will be without the suspended Harry Maguire after he was sent off at Burnley. Morgan is likely to replace him at centre-back, although Caglar Soyuncu is also an option.

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