Leicester turn focus towards managerial decision after virtually assuring Premier League status

John Percy
Shakespeare’s back-to-basics approach has revitalised the champions - Rex Features

With Leicester’s Premier League place virtually secured for next season, the focus will now turn to the next manager.

Leicester’s board are facing a huge decision as they decide whether to stick with Craig Shakespeare, who has the backing of the players, or seek a more high-profile appointment.

Shakespeare has performed admirably to ease the grip of relegation from around Leicester throats and victory at the Hawthorns should enhance his hopes of landing the job beyond the summer.

Make no mistake, Leicester were heading for the Championship under Claudio Ranieri and a disillusioned squad but Shakespeare’s back-to-basics approach has revitalised the champions.

Yet there remains a nagging feeling that Leicester’s ambitious owners could eschew continuity and move for a manager with a greater reputation. It is a decision which will prove pivotal to the club’s future, as they bid to repeat the heroics of the last 18 months.

Jamie Vardy scored the only goal against West Brom Credit: Getty Images

Danny Drinkwater, the midfielder, said: “I think the manager situation is something that will get sorted out sooner rather than later hopefully.

“That’s out of our hands as players and we have to deal with it as it comes along but we’re all behind ‘Shakes’ if he gets the job, definitely.

“It’s up to the owners but as long as we’re safe the staff can look after that side of it and we can look after things on the pitch.

“Next season I think we’ll definitely have no doubts about getting into the European spots. We just need to push again, hopefully regroup, recruit well and push on again.”

Craig Shakespeare's future at Leicester remains unclear Credit: Rex

Jamie Vardy’s eighth goal in 12 club games settled this dour Midlands derby, a clinical finish late in the first half after a swift changeover in play. It was an uneventful end to Premier League football for referee Mark Clattenburg, who is leaving to join the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

West Brom have gone 465 minutes without scoring and are in danger of ending an impressive season on a downbeat note.

Salomon Rondon has not found the net since December and appears completely devoid of confidence while injuries to Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu have deprived Tony Pulis of attacking alternatives.

Gareth McAuley, the defender, has admitted that Albion’s problems in front of goal are impossible to ignore but hit out at accusations they are “on the beach”.

“We’re in a difficult patch at the minute and we’re not getting the rub of the green. It’s now five games without a goal and it’s starting to play on our minds,” he said.

“But we definitely haven’t taken our foot off the pedal. Those words annoy the players and the people in the dressing room.

“There are some tough games coming up and we need to get those results to finish the season on a positive.”

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