Leicester boss Claude Puel remained coy about the appearance of his World Cup stars before Friday night’s clash with Man United at Old Trafford.
As it turned out, England defender Harry Maguire starred for the 2015/16 champions while front man Jamie Vardy started on the bench, despite both players returning to training on the Monday that week.
Of the two England players in the Leicester squad, it was Maguire that had a much heavier summer with regards to the World Cup. The former Hull man started six of England’s seven games, whereas Vardy only started one game and played 488 minutes less than his teammate. That is why it may seem peculiar that Puel opted to rest Vardy – this is not to mention the transfer saga that Maguire had been embroiled in with Man United as well.
But Vardy showed his importance to the side by scoring late on to give the Foxes a glimmer of hope in the final stages. While it proved to be too little too late, it still went to show Puel had made a big mistake, and that Vardy must start for Leicester as soon as possible.
Kelechi Iheanacho is certainly a good player, but he seems to lack that goal-scoring knack that Vardy possesses – in fact, only Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku have bagged more goals than Vardy in the past three seasons.
No one can say that Leicester haven’t tried to find a back-up, or partner, to Vardy, but the search still goes on. Ahmed Musa, Islam Slimani, Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki are all members of the list that haven’t been able to replicate, or even come close, to Vardy’s form over the last few seasons.
Although Iheanacho appears to be the most promising, the performance at Old Trafford still suggests that Leicester still rely on their tried and tested speedster.
Fortunately for Puel, Vardy will be at full fitness very soon, where he’ll resume his place spearheading Leicester’s attack.
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