Wednesday 15 August 2018

Leicester duo Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy set to miss Premier League opener at Manchester United

Harry Maguire has been linked with a move to Manchester United (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Harry Maguire has been linked with a move to Manchester United (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has suggested his England World Cup duo of Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy will not play in next week's Premier League opener against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Maguire played a key role in England's run to the World Cup semi-finals last month, while Vardy was also played his part in a surprisingly lengthy run for Gareth Southgate's side in Russia.

Yet their club are now likely to pay a price for that success, with Puel confirming after his side's pre-season friendly game against Valencia on Wednesday night that the duo will not play against United as they are only due back from their holiday next Monday.

"I think if we are serious they cannot participate in this first game with five days training session with the team," stated Puel.

"Jamie and Harry are valuable players for us but we need to protect them also. If they are available to play in their minds it is a good thing and shows their desire to comeback and fight with the team.

"They need normally more time but we will see together. We try to give them good game time to work with the team and make progress with their fitness.“We try to respect all this and avoid injury.

“It is important after the World Cup to work of course but to come back with the team and live with the team and to find again the atmosphere of the squad and club."

Puel was clearly leaving the door ajar for his World Cup stars to play against United if they return to training at Leicester in good shape next week and by then, doubts over Maguire's future at Leicester will be resolved.

United are reported to have made contact with Leicester over a deal to sign Maguire, but the club have made it clear that they want him to stay.

The absence of Leicester's star duo replicates some of the problems Jose Mourinho has endured at United, with Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba among his star names yet to return after their lengthy World Cup adventures.

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