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Neil Lennon should be at Leicester, insists Robby Savage

By Stuart McKinley

Published 07/08/2015

Bit of previous: Neil Lennon was a team-mate of Savage
Bit of previous: Neil Lennon was a team-mate of Savage

One of Neil Lennon's former team-mates believes that Leicester City made a mistake by overlooking the former Northern Ireland midfielder when they were searching for a new manager this summer.

Robbie Savage, who played alongside Lennon when the Foxes won the League Cup in 2000, is concerned that his old club have taken a gamble in appointing former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri, whose spell in charge of Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifying opponents Greece lasted just five games, four of which they lost - including a 2-0 defeat to Michael O'Neill's men last October.

The former Wales international would have liked to see Leicester hand Lennon the opportunity to manage in the Premier League and would have gone for another Ulsterman, in the shape of Martin O'Neill, if they failed to net the current Bolton boss.

"I would have gone for Neil Lennon personally," said Savage, who also played in the same Crewe Alexandra team as Lennon before they linked up again at Leicester.

"In the end, they have picked Claudio Ranieri. He is a big name, but is he the right fit? Time will tell if it works.

"My old Leicester manager Martin O'Neill was being linked with the job as well and he could have been a great choice.

"I'd have loved to see Martin back in the Premier League, but he has a job to do with the Republic of Ireland right now and he is not the type to walk away from a challenge before it has finished.

"Ranieri is the man Leicester have gone for and the fans have to get behind him now.

"I'm sure they will because we saw the support up at Leicester for home matches in the final weeks of the season and it helped to carry them towards what was an incredible escape from the relegation zone.

"How will they get on this season? I think they will survive - just. I hope they do anyway.

"It's a bold move to hire Ranieri and as an ex-Leicester player, I just hope that it works."

Instead of getting a job in the Premiership, Lurgan-born Lennon will now focus instead on trying to get there with Bolton.

Last season his remit was to keep the Trotters in the Championship, with the team collecting only five points in their opening 11 games before he took over in October.

There was a revival soon after, with Lennon taking the team on an eight-match unbeaten run during November and December, which saw them rise from 23rd to 13th, raising hopes of a Play-Off place at the time.

They dropped off after that and won just three of their last 16 games and finished 18th.

Bolton are at home to Derby County in their opening game tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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