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Tuesday 25 July 2017

5 things about new Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare

New Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare (left) with former boss Claudio Ranieri.
New Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare (left) with former boss Claudio Ranieri.

Craig Shakespeare has been named as Leicester's manager until the end of the season, the caretaker boss replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri.

Here Press Association Sport looks at five things about the new man and what he brings to the champions.

1. He was a lower league stalwart

Shakespeare was a midfielder most remembered by Walsall fans for his eight-year stay at the Saddlers.

He helped them on the most famous cup run in their history when - as a Third Division club - they reached the semi-final of the Milk Cup in 1984, beating Arsenal along the way, before losing to eventual winners Liverpool, who also won the First Division.

He also played for Sheffield Wednesday - playing with Nigel Pearson - West Brom, Grimsby and Scunthorpe before returning to the Hawthorns in their community department before moving onto the coaching staff.

2. He has a perfect record

Shakespeare has a 100 per cent record as a first-team manager having won his first two games in charge of Leicester against Liverpool and Hull.

He had previously taken charge of West Brom for one match in 2006, winning 2-0 at Crystal Palace, before leaving when Tony Mowbray took over.

His first game as a full-time manager will be next Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Sevilla. A 1-0 victory over the Spanish side would send the Foxes through to the quarter-finals after a 2-1 first-leg defeat.

3. He has experience in a relegation battle

Shakespeare was assistant to Pearson, having returned to the club following their spell at Hull in 2011, when the Foxes pulled off their Great Escape two years ago.

Leicester won seven of their final nine games to stay up - before winning the league a year later - after being written off as late as April 2015.

The new boss at the King Power Stadium has 11 games left to guide the Foxes away from the relegation zone, with Leicester five points above the bottom three.

4. Shakespeare has the support of the squad

The players had publicly backed him for the role and showed it in their performances by winning their first two games after Ranieri's sacking.

The display in the 3-1 win over Liverpool last month was a marked improvement from the last knockings of the Italian's reign, bar the odd display, and showed Shakespeare could get an instant reaction.

But it is a difficult dynamic being the manager - the man to makes the decisions and upset the players - after being the assistant and the buffer between the squad and the boss.

5. He has given the players what they want

Under Ranieri this season performances had slumped and tactics often seemed confused.

But Shakespeare earned praise from the players for taking them back to basics - the basics which helped them win a shock title by 10 points last season.

He asked the players for their opinions before the win over Liverpool as Jamie Vardy explained: "Before the game we spoke with Shakes and he asked us what we thought were the best actions to take. We thought it was to press higher and win the ball higher up. We did that and hurt them."

Press Association

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