Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester return home to the King Power Stadium to face Watford on Saturday with their Premier League future effectively secure and thoughts already turning to a crucial close-season.
The Premier League champions this week had to hand back the trophy they won a year ago and Foxes manager Craig Shakespeare is urging his players to finally put their fairytale title success behind them.
But his own future and that of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel are two of several burning issues that need to be addressed before they can begin to fully plan for the next phase of the club’s development.
Shakespeare’s own position remains uncertain after he was handed a contract as manager until the end of the season, while Schmeichel appears the most likely Leicester player to be the subject of transfer speculation.
The Danish international is the only Leicester player to enhance his reputation still further this season during the club’s stuttering title defence.
– Aiming high –
That has seen him linked with Manchester United and news this week that he had switched agents fuelled the rumours, but Shakespeare has played down fears of losing Schmeichel.
“I think he’s totally entitled to change his agent if the other agent is out of contract but what I would say is he’s been very, very professional and I think his level of performance has shown that,” Shakespeare said.
“Nothing has affected him and the type of character he is, he’s a very strong character. I expect him to carry on with the way he’s performing.
“I’m not aware of any interest. I’ve said before that I have no problems with players wanting to progress and play Champions League, which we’ve offered this season but ultimately Kasper is happy here.
“You can see that in the way he conducts himself, he’s in the form of his life but we have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
“We’ve had no offers so there’s nothing really to talk about.”
Shakespeare will again be without captain Wes Morgan because of a hamstring injury and Claudio Ranieri’s former assistant is ready to wait until the end of the season to discuss his own long-term future.
“I’m happy to bat questions away and deal with it an the end of the season,” he said.
“We’re not mathematically safe and I want, the players want and the club wants to finish as high as possible.”