Brendan Rodgers: Leicester City manager says he had coronavirus

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has likened his battle with coronavirus to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers says he “had no strength” after contracting the coronavirus in March.

Rodgers is the second Premier League manager to confirm he has had Covid-19, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also testing positive in March.

The 47-year-old says he suffered with “breathlessness” before fully recovering from the virus.

“I could hardly walk and it reminded me of walking up Mount Kilimanjaro,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.

“We had a week off when we were supposed to play Watford [14 March] and then the week after that, I started to struggle.

“For three weeks I had no smell or taste. I had no strength, and a week after, my wife was the same. We were tested and both of us were detected with the virus.”

Rodgers climbed Kilimanjaro in aid of charity in 2011, weeks after winning the Championship play-off final with Swansea and guiding the club to the Premier League for the first time.

He was part of a 17-strong team representing the Football League.

“It reminded me of when I climbed Kilimanjaro. The higher you went the more you suffered with acclimatisation and the harder it was to breathe,” he added.

“I remember trying to run for the first time [after becoming ill] and it was hard to go 10 yards. I had no real appetite and it was a weird sensation of eating food without ever tasting and smelling what it was.

“It has made me really appreciate being fit and healthy.”

‘I feel safe’

The Foxes have returned to training with the league expected to return in June, and Rodgers says it has been “brilliant” to have the players back together.

“It was good to have that contact again and to be near them,” he said.

“The last couple of days we have split into groups of 12, which is not normal, but how they have adapted has been really nice.

“The rhythm of it [training] has changed but I’m really pleased with them physically and it’s like they have never been away.”

Watford captain Troy Deeney is among several top-flight players who have refused to train during the pandemic, but Rodgers says none of his players have shown an unwillingness to resume.

“There hasn’t been anyone that has given us any inclination that they do not want to play,” he said.

“I feel safe and we are very lucky in football that we are being tested twice a week.

“One of the key things about keeping this virus away is being in the open air and that is where we are all day, so we are very fortunate.

“When we go to stadiums we won’t be in the same changing room. We will be in four or five different areas so that is an example of adaptation.”

Asked about his goals for the resumption of the season, Rodgers said “fulfilling the dream” of qualifying for the Champions League would be “incredible”.

“We are three-quarters of the way there and there is no reason why we cannot finish the job,” he added.

“It would only be the second time in the club’s history and it’s a dream we want to fulfil. If we can do something in the FA Cup, that would be spectacular as well.”