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Thursday 8 December 2016

Ranieri sees rotation as the norm

Published 21/07/2015 | 04:37

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has returned to the Premier League for the first time since 2004
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has returned to the Premier League for the first time since 2004

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists he was ahead of his time when he was branded the 'Tinkerman'.

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The new Foxes manager believes the nature of the Barclays Premier League has changed in the 11 years he has been away.

Ranieri was nicknamed the Tinkerman during his four years with Chelsea and guided them to second in the top flight during Roman Abramovich's first season at Stamford Bridge in 2004, before being replaced by Jose Mourinho.

The 63-year-old Italian was appointed Leicester manager last week and r eckons many managers follow his rotation policy now, admitting he is not afraid to make the changes at his new club.

"Yes. I think everyone now rotates. The Tinkerman was one, now there are a lot of Tinkermen," he said.

"If you know me well, a lot of young players made their debut with me - (Gianfranco) Zola in Naples, John Terry at Chelsea. I'll look around the academy.

"If there is somebody, I pick him and play him. I have no problem.

"If you remember I had a couple of centre-backs, one was a Euro and World Cup winner, (Marcel) Desailly and (Frank) Leboeuf, and when I watched John Terry in the second team I picked up on him and I put him in the squad.

"If one player is good, he plays."

Ranieri replaced the sacked Nigel Pearson and signed a three-year deal at the King Power Stadium, his ninth job in 11 years.

But the response to his appointment has been mixed, with former Leicester striker Gary Lineker questioning the move while Harry Redknapp has also been critical.

Redknapp said he was surprised Ranieri could "walk back into the Premier League" after he was sacked by Greece in November.

Ranieri said: "I understand but I will work hard to make changes. I respect everybody but now my problem is not Lineker or Redknapp, my focus is on Leicester.

"Look, for me work is very important. I love my job, I want to improve all my players, I want to improve everything.

"I think it is good when the field speaks - the games, the points we achieve are important. Other things are not important.

"Also in Greece I wanted to build something but it's difficult to build on the sand."

Chief executive Susan Whelan insisted Ranieri was the club's first choice, despite ex-boss Martin O'Neill being linked with a return to Leicester.

"Absolutely," she said. " We went through a very extensive process in terms of looking at the managers available.

"We made sure it was a very good long-term choice. It became very clear almost immediately that Claudio was our number one target."

Press Association

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