No one will forget Leicester City’s incredible 2015/16 Premier League title triumph — inspired by the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who laid the foundations for the club’s success — any time soon.
And while the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante played gigantic roles on the pitch under Claudio Ranieri that campaign, the team’s supporting cast all did their parts to devastating effect with Shinji Okazaki being the prime example.
Up front, Okazaki was not the most prolific of No.9s, finishing the season with just five Premier League goals. However, the 32-year-old proved to be a constant nuisance for defenders game after game with his energy and relentless running.
With Claude Puel now at the helm, though, that is no longer enough to maintain a regular place in a starting XI that only has space for one centre-forward these days.
And with Kelechi Iheanacho clearly the deputy to Vardy in that striker position, it is surely only a matter of time before Okazaki calls it time on his Leicester career.
Like a lot of his fellow title-winning team-mates including Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs, the Japan international has become surplus to requirements, which is disappointing to see.
Of course, no one would have expected this Leicester team to go on to become the new Manchester United and dominate the Premier League. But the way the Foxes’ 2015/16 team has been dissembled due to managerial changes and the departure of key players must have left an unpleasant taste in the mouths of some supporters
As for Okazaki, specifically, who has followed the same trend of many of his team-mates by being dashed out of the first team, he looks to be heading in only one direction — and that is not back into the starting XI.
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