Leicester are going through a renaissance with Shakespeare, but how much is down to his managerial skills?
After the sacking of Claudio Ranieri there were few who believed that Leicester will be able to save their season, but with relegation becoming a serious possibility, the club had no option but to let go of the man who has won them their first ever Premier League title.
More than a few high-profile names have been mentioned as possible successors of the famous Italian, but the fact that Leicester have still not appointed a new gaffer only confirms that this wasn’t part of the plan and Leicester are just buying time.
Leicester City is not an ordinary English club. Its structure and organization is modeled by some of Europe’s biggest teams. The club’s backroom staff have been with the club for some time now. Jon Rudkin, the club’s current Director of Football and the man behind the scenes who arranged the transfers of N’Golo Kante, Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez, has been with the club for fourteen years as Head of Youth Development and youth coach. David Mills, the club’s head scout, has been responsible for signing the likes of Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater, Kasper Schmeichel and Wes Morgan in the past. In fact, Leicester’s newest signing in the backroom staff has been made after Claudio Ranieri has personally recommended Eduardo Macia, a former scout at Liverpool and Valencia which resulted in Leicester making some strange signings last summer.
The manager’s role at Leicester is different to Ferguson’s and Wenger’s at their respective clubs. The manager is basically someone who’s in charge of tactics, training, team selection and team morale, allowing him to focus solely on football matters. Of course his opinion is very important, but the club can function without his influence for matters outside the football pitch and the training ground. It’s why Ranieri only brought one or two people with him when he signed for the Foxes and it was more than enough. What changed for Leicester is that Mr. Ranieri was given more freedom, responsibility and more time under the limelight than last season which resulted in a disaster.
Without taking anything away from Craig Shakespeare and Mike Stowell who are joint-caretakers at the moment, this renaissance is hardly down to their contribution or ability to motivate. Their only job right now is to bring back the good old familiar tactics and return the spirit of the dressing room which shouldn’t be that hard once the “cancer” has been removed. Leicester’s success is instead down to the clubs wonderful setup and organization which allows even coaches like Shakespeare to win football games and managers like Mr. Claudio Ranieri to have a chance to win the league. The Leicester City dressing room is among the strongest ones morale-wise. Some of the players have been together for six or seven years and have seen managers come and go. Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Andy King and Danny Drinkwater have become the heart and soul of the team and most probably it was their influence that resulted in the sacking of Ranieri in the first place.
Whoever is appointed as the next Leicester manager needs to know that this club operates better with someone who’s more willing to be in the background, to be the motivator, the joker, a friend of the players rather than their manager. Someone who will not take them too far out of their comfort zones as these lads have proven that they can be unbeatable in theirs.