Leicester City go into their next three domestic games including today’s clash against Southampton without talisman Jamie Vardy with the England international set to begin the first of his three-game suspension.
£18m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Vardy was shown a straight red for an overzealous tackle on Matt Doherty in Leicester’s 2-0 victory over Wolves last weekend, and manager Claude Puel has not ruled out the possibility of the striker missing even more games once he is available for selection again.
Speaking about Vardy’s suspension to Press Association Sport (via BT Sport) ahead of Leicester v Southampton, Puel said: “He’s a valuable player for us but we cannot play all the season with one striker with the possibility to score.
“It’s a good chance to give responsibility to other players, for example I was happy with the progress of [Kelechi] Iheanacho at the end of last season.
“It’s important the players have the desire to take his place.”
Delving into Puel’s comments thoroughly, it is likely they are just to motivate and crank the pressure up on Vardy’s deputies to perform in his absence.
Neither Iheanacho or Shinji Okazaki have the efficiency in front of goal to succeed Vardy as Leicester’s first-choice striker in the long run.
Iheanacho has largely struggled at the King Power since arriving from Manchester City last August while Okazaki, who does offer the Foxes much on the pitch with his work rate and energy, is not prolific enough.
Puel is not fooling anyone; once Vardy serves his suspension he will be the first name on Leicester’s teamsheet.