The manager of Premier League side Leicester City FC Craig Shakespeare has asked that the team want more UEFA Champions League football following their strong display but eventual exit after facing Atletico Madrid.
The Foxes fought hard but they crashed out in the quarter final stage. They lost narrowly in the first leg in Spain but put up a spirited performance in the return leg in England. The final aggregate score was 2-1.
“We had them rattled with the effort and commitment we showed. It’s no discredit to lose to a team of that calibre. I’ve just said to the players that they should want more of this and they’ve agreed that that’s what they want.
“All players want to play at the highest level but we have to get back to winning ways in the Premier League now,” the manager said.
Atletico pressed in the first half as they wanted an early goal to sink their hosts. After losing a few chances, Saul Niguez’s headers did it for the Spanish outfit. It meant Leicester required three goals to progress.
The second half saw the hosts come out to attack and Jamie Vardy’s goal gave them hope of something special. They gave their best but it was not enough to break the Atletico wall.
Shakespeare commended the team, adding that conceding an early goal made it a higher mountain to climb.
Only Leeds United have gone farther than Leicester in their debut season in the Champions League. They reached the last four in 2000/01. Leicester followed the footpath of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Spurs who reached the last eight in their debuts.
Leicester would not be making Europe next season as they are far from the playoff spot. It has been a mixed season for them starting poorly in their Premier League title defence, after miraculously winning last year, losing their manager Claudio Ranieri and forging ahead with the current coach.
Craig Shakespeare has dismissed suggestions that he was one of the reasons for Claudio Ranieri to leave the club a few months ago.
After having won the Premier League title against all odds, Ranieri was sacked midway through the campaign with the club struggling in the drop zone. Shakespeare was appointed on a caretaker basis and he was appointed on an interim basis after a couple of matches. He has managed to win six matches and help the club go near the top half of the table in the space of a few weeks. Incidentally, Leicester City started performing well immediately after the exit of Ranieri.
The Italian was a much loved figure at Leicester City and indeed across the world. He managed to get the club, who were favourites for relegation last season, to win the title against all the odds. They managed to beat the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham in order to win the title.
All these clubs had significantly bigger budgets than Leicester City and the quality was also different with regard to the players. Ranieri will forever remembered as the greatest manager in the history of the club. Shakespeare claims that he was not one of the names who backstabbed the Italian, who is now out of work.
“I’m quite comfortable with my own conscience, so I can’t do anything about that.I was at the Under-23s last night but I have been filled in about it [the interview with Ranieri.I have seen clips of it. I think Claudio was in good humour and came across as I know him, but from my first interview, I spoke to him and he thanked me for my time. I thanked him and there has never been any falling out. It’s football and I’m glad to see that he is enjoying his football again,” said Shakespeare.
Ritchie de Laet was snapped up by the English League Championship club Aston Villa back on August of 2016 and so far, the Belgium defender has made 3 league appearances for the club and it seems highly unlikely that Ritchie de Laet will be able to show up in any further competitive matches for Aston Villa in the near future due to a knee injury that he sustained.
On September 14 of 2016, Aston Villa locked horns with Brentford in a match that concluded with a 1-1 draw and it was in this game that Ritchie de Laet picked up his injury which is expected to be leaving him out of the playing grounds for the rest of the season.
According to the manager of Aston Villa, Steve Bruce stated that Ritchie de Laet should be available for the pre-season of their upcoming campaign and this means that for the remainder of the current season, Ritchie de Laet will probably not be making another appearance which is extremely disappointing for a player that has only been featured in 3 league matches so far.
It’s now believed that Aston Villa are searching around for potential players that can replace Ritchie de Laet during this period of time where he is injured and unable to get into the pitch.
One of the players that has entered the radar of Aston Villa is James Bree of Barnsley.Bree is a 19 year old who despite being so young, he is already rated as a top performer and Steve Bruce along with his scouting team are preparing an offer in the region of €4 million.
Micah Richards is another defensive player of Aston Villa that has recently sustained an injury which has kept him out of action for a significantly long period of time but Richards is expected to be back in action in February of 2017 but Ritchie de Laet on the other hand is not scheduled to return anytime soon.
By this time last year, Leicester City talisman Jamie Vardy had broken a Premier League record, scoring 11 straight goals in 11 consecutive matches.
The record earned him congratulatory messages from all quarters, including Ruud van Nistelrooy whose record Vardy broke. The fairy tale season continued all season and ended in him winning the Premier League with Leicester in May.
The result was a new deal worth £100,000 per week amidst a flurry of interests from top clubs. There were awards– like Sports Personality of the Year and Ballon d’Or nominations – invitation to the England national team amongst others. It was a remarkable year for Vardy but the player has quickly exited the spotlight and the goals have dried up.
The Foxes are set to play Sunderland – a relegation-threatened side this term – this weekend whilst being only two points above the relegation zone themselves. Vardy has now gone 15 games without a goal and his influence in the team is waning.
“Jamie deserves everything after what he did last season and hopefully being nominated for so many awards gives him energy. I don’t see a difference with Jamie last season – only the goals,” Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri said.
Vardy was substituted in the 2-2 draw against Premier League entrants this term Middlesbrough in the last game, with his starting shirt at the Kings Power Stadium under threat. This was a player that Arsenal – as thrifty as they are – valued £22 million this summer, which the player later turned down. The players stats seem to be drying up. PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez also seem not to be at his best and it is affecting Vardy. The Algeria international has sent just two passes since the Burnley game.
Michael Owen has said that Vardy is not a natural goalscorer, surprising considering his 24 goals last term. Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has asked that Vardy stop “sulking” as the scrutiny and pressure after every game continues.
English Championship side Aston Villa are set to host Blackburn Rovers his weekend. Steve Bruce could play Jack Grealish in the game at Villa Park after the youngster completed his three-match suspension.
Grealish suspension was because he stamped Wolves midfielder Conor Coady when both sides met in October.
Grealish featured in the Under 23 game this week. The player is expected to be fit to provide depth for Bruce, particularly as Jordan Ayew is suspended. Bruce would have tough decisions to make as Albert Adomah is struggling to get full match fitness after his dead leg incident in the 1-1 draw against Birmingham last week. Bruce may have to rely on Ivory Coast international Jonathan Kodija. The player is enjoying impressive form and is quite comfortable playing anywhere in the front attack.
Villa would be without their signing, Ritchie De Laet due to his long-term injury. The 27-year old player joined from Leicester City at the end of last term. He scored against Villa last year when he was with the Foxes in the first half of the season before his switch to Middleborough in January to help them get promotion to the Premier League
Blackburn have their own injury woes as well. His parent club – Watford – is assessing Tommie Hoban as his dislocated shoulder means he could miss up to three months. Derrick Williams remains sidelined for weeks due to his hamstring problem. There are issues with Wes Brown, Adam Henley, and Elliott Ward as well. Owen Coyle had to draft in Gordon Greer and Anthony Stokes as they managed to pass fitness tests ahead of the game against Wolves. Rovers played a draw with Wolves but would be seeking a better result as they visit Aston Villa.
Aston Villa signed defender Ritchie De Laet from Leicester City only in the summer hoping that he would be a major factor in the club’s push for promotion.
However, this was not the case as the defender has now suffered a major injury that rules him out for the season. The 27-year-old had to go off from the game against Brentford with a serious looking knee injury. The extent of the injury has just come out and it is not good news for the player and the club. It has been a poor start to the Championship campaign by Villa.
New manager Roberto di Matteo has been unable to change things around, but his job was always going to be difficult. Turning around the confidence of a relegated squad is very difficult and Villa have been going through relegation form for the last few years. The squad is extremely low on confidence and even the changes made in the summer has not helped much. Di Matteo admitted that is was a very bad news for the club, but he is hoping that the fresh assessments of the player will bring some good news.
Villa could only manage a 1-1 draw against Brentford and they are 17th in the table after just one league win so far.“Unfortunately, Ritchie De Laet has a serious injury, it’s looking today that he will need surgery so he will be out for a while.I feel very sorry for the boy. He was so happy to come here, to join us.He’s had a really positive impact within the group as well and has shown some good performances,” said the manager.“Absolutely gutted that I’m gonna miss this season but I’m sure the boys will turn it around and get us up there,” said the player on Twitter.
There are players that have never managed to win a league title with their respective club and those which have been able to do it never forget about making this accomplishment as it takes a very good team to make this happen.
Steven Gerrard is widely regarded as one of the best players from his generation who spent most of his playing career performing for Liverpool where he managed to 1 Champions League title as well as other numerous pieces of silverware the Englishman failed to win the Premier League with his former club Liverpool even though he spent over 10 years trying to add it to his collection, unfortunately for him it just never happened.
This shows that even some of the most performers haven’t had the privilege of winning a league title; however this isn’t the case of Leicester City’s Ritchie de Laet who performed with both Middlesbrough and Leicester City during the 2015-16 season of the Premier League and the English League Championship.
Ritchie de Laet certainly isn’t as known as Steven Gerrard or has had such a prolific career as the Liverpool icon but securing 2 different league titles is something that does deserve to be acknowledged.
It’s because of this unique accomplishment that the defender is now being linked with a move to other clubs as he has managed to stand out and make a name for himself as a player that can perform in different clubs and leagues without showing any significant signs of struggle.
The Belgian defender is reaching the last few years of his contract with Leicester City but he might be leaving sooner than initially expected if the rumors are indeed true and if any enticing offers are launched towards the former Manchester United player.
Steve Walsh reckons Leicester City would emerge as a force in the upcoming season too and would not just fade away.
Despite beating the Spurs for the trophy by a fair distance, not many in England are ready to give Leicester their fair due.
The general belief is that the big clubs with new recruitments would come blazing in the summer and for the champions, it would be tough to even stay in the first half of the standings.
But, Walsh banishes such comments. The ex-skipper opines Leicester had been steadily progressing for the last four or five seasons and it’s not that what they achieved came out of the blue and was all about good fortune.
The fact that the Leicester management has been able to keep the association with the superstar Jamie Vardy intact in spite of Arsenal’s efforts to break it, has assured Walsh even more that the Foxes would continue making further steps.
As per Walsh, for Vardy to commit to spend his most vital seasons at Leicester is wonderful.
Although the 51-year old says that a voice somewhere deep inside had been telling him that Vardy wouldn’t go, but, the issue was negotiated perfectly by the club and for that, the board’s cooperation is to be lauded too.
Also, heaping praise on the Leicester scouts who have been excellent in picking talents from different regions and leagues, Walsh has backed them to ensure the team has enough quality to be competitive in the top tier consistently.
Walsh, the Lancashire born defender who is a businessman now, had a long playing tenure at Leicester which concluded in 2000 as he moved on to Norwich.
He did not play for much long after that, retired just a couple of years later.
There is news that Derby County manager Nigel Pearson might make a bid for Ritchie de Laet in the summer.
The player who has been on loan to Middlesbrough last season will return to his parent club next season and with Ranieri announcing that he will be bringing new players during the summer; there are slim chances that de Laet will be getting enough playing time.
Nigel Pearson, who has just been appointed as the manager of Derby County, will be hoping that his team can secure promotion to the Premier League. For this, he will have to strengthen a team that has appeared to be short in some department.
Nigel Pearson will be hoping that Ritchie de Laet will be attracted by the prospect of getting regular playing time at Derby County in order to convince him to sign. Ritchie de Laet was signed by Pearson while he was at Leicester City and he has always remained a great fan of the player. He will hope that the experience the player has gained at Middlesbrough will be helpful when it comes to mounting a serious promotion push.
There is also news that Pearson might also be interested in signing another of his former Leicester player Matty James. Just as Ritchie de Laet, James also struggled to get regular playing time at Leicester City and will be hoping that he can revive his career at Derby County.
However, it is believed that no formal bid will be made before the end of the Euros. At the moment, Pearson said that he is focused on rebuilding the recruitment team at Derby County to ensure that they can detect talented young players. At the moment, he said there is a lack of infrastructure at Derby County and that he will be working on remedying this issue.
A poor decision by referee hindered Leicester City from taking their points’ advantage in double digits in Premiership on Sunday, but, still, Claudio Ranieri did not lose his grace.
It’s not an easy time to keep the patience for somebody in Ranieri’s position especially while being on the receiving end of the wrong decisions.
The Italy native has put his blood, sweat and tears to convert a dream into actuality, but, every point lost from here threatens for that dream to remain a dream only.
However, Ranieri reckons since he is a coach, what falls under his jurisdiction is to see how his players are going and that’s what he does rather than to keep an eye on the match officials and prepare a report card of their decision making.
As per Ranieri, the decisions are made in front of everyone and people watch everything from different angles on their television screens and they can realize themselves what is right and what is wrong.
However, providing his own point of view, Ranieri said that Vardy, who was sent off the pitch, doesn’t indulge himself in diving at all. It’s just that his speed of moving on the ground is pretty high and with that sort of speed, even if a slight contact is made, it straightaway comes under the scanner.
Ranieri also stressed that the ambition, which this journey of Leicester had started with, was to try and get enough points to avoid slipping to the second division. They never saw themselves as trophy contenders. So, the panic is not there as to what happens if they fall down from the top. If it happens and if another side, be it the Spurs or the Gunners or anyone, is better, they would be crowned champions.