Leicester City's stunning story continues under Craig Shakespeareby Jack Kitson / 16 March 2017, 09:38Tweet
In the space of 10 remarkable months Leicester City have: hoisted the Premier League trophy, made a dismal defence of their title, been booted out of the FA Cup by League One side Millwall, sacked the 2016 Manager of the Year Claudio Ranieri, and this week progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. And breathe.
The Foxes are flying the flag for England in Europe’s elite competition after Man City and Arsenal were both dumped out in the last-16 (Tottenham couldn't even make it past the knockout stages), meaning new boss Craig Shakespeare - a novice in managerial terms - is now the only remaining Premier League gaffer in the Champions League.
Shakespeare has only managed one match as Leicester’s official manager - Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Sevilla - although he has a 100% record since Ranieri was axed, having led Leicester to back-to-back 3-1 league successes over Liverpool and Hull as caretaker.
Shakespeare now as the chance, an admittedly slim chance, to become the first Englishman since Joe Fagan to hoist the European Cup (Liverpool, 1984), and the first of his countrymen to win the trophy in the Champions League era.
Who could have foreseen that?
The recent unfolding of events draws parallels with Chelsea back in 2012. After losing the first-leg of their last-16 clash with Napoli the Blues axed Andre Villas-Boas and placed assistant Roberto Di Matteo in caretaker charge until the end of the season.
Few could have predicted what followed, with the Italian miraculously winning the Champions League and FA Cup double.
On Friday Leicester’s Shakespeare finds himself in the draw for the Champions League last-8 alongside some of the continent’s most successful managers, three of which are the last three winners of the competition: Zinedine Zidane (2016), Luis Enrique (2015), and Carlo Ancelotti (2014), the latter has a joint-record three triumphs to his name with Bob Paisley.
Leicester are unsurprisingly the 33/1 outsiders (Bet365) to become the first English side to win the competition since Chelsea in 2012, while Shakespeare would become the first British boss to lift the trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson nine years ago.