A top-8 finish predicted for Craig Shakespeare's Leicester Cityby Mike Holden / 09 August 2017, 14:44Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) looks at what we can expect from Craig Shakespeare and Leicester during the 2017/18 Premier League season.
The Leicester fairytale had a sour ending when Claudio Ranieri was ousted by a string of lacklustre performances during the break from Champions League action, his dismissal made inevitable by late February. The Foxes recovered under Craig Shakespeare, suddenly stringing together six straight wins to drag themselves clear of danger and past Sevilla on a memorable night at the King Power. The imaginative recruitment that should have happened last summer is now happening this. New signings Harry Maguire and Kelechi Iheanacho provide a bridge to the future.
Shakespeare is a confident man, not remotely fazed by the position he now holds. Whether he succeeds or fails, he will take the job in his stride and he starts from a position of strength having already established a close bond with most of the senior players at the club. He’s big on competition for places and is happy to delegate preparatory tasks to specialist experts, both of which imply that he’s an extravert - an organiser of people rather than ideas.
"I’m excited. It was a bit of a manic end to last season but I have to pay tribute to the staff because they gave me tremendous support, and we had to deal with it all just as the players did. I’m not a fan of saying we have to get to 40 points, I think we have to aim higher than that. I look at the squad and the players we’re trying to attract - I want to be better than that and so do the players."
Shakespeare is no fly-by-night operator with little idea of what the top job entails, and it’s no small matter that he was handpicked by Sam Allardyce to be part of his England backroom staff. He’s been the right-hand man for almost a decade and commands instant respect from within the club. What sets Leicester apart from most teams is their right to be competitive in every match. The inferiority complex that often undermines others isn’t applicable to them. They can approach games against top-six opposition like any other match.