Leicester Boss Warns His Africans

A disappointed Leicester City boss has fired parting shots at his Afcon bound pair.

Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp will be representing Algeria and Ghana respectively at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea set for January 17-February 8. They are set to miss at least three Premier League games during the period.

Interestingly, the two team-mates could be competing from opposite ends of the Mongomo pitch on January 23 as their respective nations are paired in Group D of the tournament alongside Senegal and South Africa.

Manager Nigel Pearson in an interview with Leicester Mercury has warned the two to keep their shape and be ready for the team’s relegation fight right on their return from the Afcon.

“My message to them is come back fit and, when you do come back, don’t take an age to get back into the form you are in,” Pearson said.

“I spoke to an agent the other day who works in France and deals with a lot of players who play in France.

“They have a lot of players who are involved in the Africa Cup of Nations and he said the biggest problem was that they are away for a month and, when they come back, it takes them another month to get back up to speed.

“It is not just about them being away, they are in a different climate, the training techniques may be different, the intensity of English football is what it is. In my experience in the past, when players have gone away they come back very lethargic and don’t always recognise what is expected of them.

“I can’t stop them going. I am disappointed they are going because they are in form for us, but they have an obligation to play and must be prepared to come back in and do a job for us.

“I have always been a big supporter of players playing for their country but they need to recognise who pays their wages. We have an important season ahead so when they come back they had better be ready. I suppose most managers would be saying the same thing.

“The problem is it is a completely different culture and style of football.

“It is pretty slow and it is a million miles away from what we are about in this league.”

Schlupp was due to join Ghana’s training camp in Spain on Monday but remains an injury concern due to a knee setback suffered during Leicester’s 2-2 draw at Liverpool on New Year’s Day. Official communication on the extent of his injury has not been made public. – supersport.com

Source : The Namibian