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Is Ranieri the right choice for Leicester City?

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Monday afternoon saw Leicester City announce the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as the new first team manager, but is he the best move for the Foxes?

Following Nigel Pearson’s sacking, Leicester were linked with a number of names to take on the vacant managerial role. The likes of Steve Cotterill, Guus Hiddink, Predrag Radosavljević, Jürgen Klopp, Neil Lennon and Martin O’Neill were all mentioned, but it is Ranieri who will be taking on the role.

This appointment has sparked a mixed reception amongst Leicester City fans and has led to former professionals questioning the competence of Ranieri.

The owners and the board obviously see the 63-year-old Italian as the best man for the job, and with nearly 30 years of coaching experience he has the potential to take the club to the next stage in the Premier League.

In a statement released by the club, Leicester City Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “His achievements in the game, his knowledge of English football and his record of successfully coaching some of the world’s finest players made him the outstanding candidate for the job and his ambitions for the future reflect our own.”

Experience was the key aspect in the eyes of the fans and the board, and with Ranieri’s established coaching career he has certainly got it in abundance. He has managed some of Europe’s top clubs over the years, including Chelsea, Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Inter Milan, Juventus, Roma and Monaco to name a few.

He spent nearly four years in charge at Chelsea, and his experience of managing in the Premier League could have been an influential factor in the board’s decision to offer him the Leicester job. Considering some of the names linked with the vacant manager role had no experience of coaching in the Premier League or English football; with one or two having little coaching experience at all, Ranieri is a respectable choice.

He has also won a number of trophies at some of the clubs he has been in charge of; the most notable of which being the Serie B title and the Coppa Italia with Fiorentina, the Copa del Rey with Valencia and more recently, the Ligue 2 title with Monaco.

The Foxes may not have a chance at winning large amounts of trophies, but under the management of Ranieri they may start a decent run in the FA Cup or the League Cup, so it will be interesting to see how the team approaches the cup games as opposed to previous seasons.

Another reason why Ranieri could prove to be the right decision is his familiarity with struggling teams. Leicester could well face another relegation battle this season and the players and coaching staff will look to avoid having to pull off another great escape in the final few games.

Despite spending a lot of time at trophy-winning teams, Ranieri is no stranger to a relegation battle. In 2007 he was appointed the manager of Parma midway through the Serie A season with the objective to avoid relegation. With the threat of relegation to Serie B, Ranieri turned Parma’s form around, leading them to a 12th place finish, picking up 20 points from their last nine matches.

Ranieri will also be reunited with some familiar faces at Leicester City, as he has worked with a couple of the players and staff at his previous clubs. Leicester City assistant manager and head of recruitment Steve Walsh worked under Ranieri during a 16-year spell as a scout at Chelsea, where he was credited for the recommendation of players such as Tore Andre Flo, Gianfranco Zola, Didier Drogba and Michael Essien. The Leicester City owners and fans of the club are hoping Walsh and fellow assistant manager Craig Shakespeare stay to assist Ranieri, as a strong management team and scouting network has been built over the last few years.

Another familiar player is German defender Robert Huth, who was brought into English football as a youth player by Ranieri while he was at Chelsea. Ranieri was also responsible for giving Huth his debut in the senior team at the age of 17.

There is also the hope that the appointment of Ranieri will contribute to the re-signing of veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, as the two of them were working alongside each other at Inter Milan just over three years ago. The owners know the integral role the Argentine has in the Leicester City team, and the decision to hire Ranieri may partly be to encourage Cambiasso to sign a new contract. With Cambiasso making a decision on his future in the upcoming days, the Foxes will be able to fully prepare for the upcoming season.

Ranieri is currently with the first team squad in their pre-season training in Austria, so he and the players will be able to get ready for the upcoming friendlies before the start of the new Premier League campaign.

Although the shock of Nigel Pearson’s sacking is still ringing in the fans’ ears, the club can now move on and look forward to another season in the top flight. With Ranieri’s history in coaching, he deserves patience from the club, and it is now the time for the fans to support their new manager.

Inter Milan Nigel Pearson

About Mark Sheppard

I am an 18-year-old Journalism and Media student at De Montfort University, Leicester. I enjoy writing, especially about sport because my interests involve football, snooker, rugby, F1 and tennis.

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