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Shakespeare in frame for longer-term Leicester job

Shakespeare stepped up from Leicester assistant to caretaker manager after Ranieri’s sacking

Caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare is firmly in contention for the Leicester manager’s job on a longer-term basis following Claudio Ranieri’s sacking.

Shakespeare was Ranieri’s assistant and is popular with the club’s players.

And the 53-year-old could be given the job until at least the end of the season, depending how the Foxes fare in Monday’s league game against Liverpool.

Leicester won the Premier League last season but go into the match in the relegation zone.

No timescale has yet been set for the appointment, but if Shakespeare remains in charge for Saturday’s home match against Hull City – a vital game for both clubs – a return of four points out of six and improved performances would count in his favour.

Shakespeare represents continuity, having been at the side of previous managers Nigel Pearson and Ranieri.

And, with just 13 games left this season, other candidates with higher profiles may not feel they have enough time left to arrest the slide.

Shakespeare gets on well with the players and is a highly regarded coach.

Former England coach Sam Allardyce thought enough of him to bring him into his coaching set-up with the national team, despite never having worked with him.

The Leicester hierarchy felt Shakespeare handled himself well in a difficult situation when he met the media after Ranieri’s departure, showing just the right amount of steely ambition when asked if he would like the job full-time while dealing diplomatically with some tough questions.

He was also smart enough to avoid publicly shaming the players – knowing he has to work with them for at least a few more days.

Ranieri didn’t lose dressing room – Leicester City caretaker

What about the other candidates?

Former Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has massive experience and would command immediate respect from the Leicester players. Money would be no object in securing Hiddink, but it is arguable whether he would want the job after working at, or near, the top of the Premier League.

Although Pearson would be a popular replacement with many senior players who worked with him until the summer of 2015, I understand it is unlikely after the circumstances that led to his departure.

Former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, is seen as a potentially divisive influence, at a time when a strong team spirit is vital.

Who will make the decision?

A panel of three – chief executive Susan Whelan, director of football John Rudkin, and football operations director Andrew Neville – will sift through the candidates, but the decision rests with the owner and chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Rudkin is close to the chairman, who relies on his football knowledge, but there is no doubt who will be in charge of the appointment.

Fundamentally, it is all down to the chairman – and having surprised so many when appointing Ranieri, and been vindicated, he will back his judgement after taking the necessary soundings.

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