Football: Shakespeare weighs up rest for Leicester stars


LEICESTER, United Kingdom, April 8, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare has an unexpected and, in some ways, welcome problem ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match away to Everton.

Having taken over in late February with the reigning champions sliding towards relegation, Shakespeare finds himself five league games and five wins later pondering the possibility of resting players at Goodison Park to protect them for a huge occasion next week.

With captain Wes Morgan already set to miss the first leg of Leicester’s inaugural Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday with a back injury, Shakespeare is considering leaving out other key players on Merseyside.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez and star striker Jamie Vardy are among the established senior players who might be held back for the tie in Spain, now that Leicester are on the brink of Premier League safety with eight games to spare.

“I will assess the squad over the next 24 hours and chat with the staff but I will pick a team that can win at Everton,” said Shakespeare on Friday.

“It is about trying to get the right balance,” added the Englishman, promoted from within Leicester’s coaching set-up after the Midlands club’s Thai owners took the controversial decision to sack title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.

“The players understand the challenge ahead and I will make sure I will make my judgement by watching them in training, see how they are and also pick a competitive team in those games.”