Belfast Telegraph

Craig Shakespeare confident Leicester can keep best players

Confident Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare believes the Foxes can hold onto their stars without European football.

The 53-year-old insists his squad are happy at the King Power Stadium despite their reign as champions coming to an end.

Leicester were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid last week and are 15th in the Premier League ahead of Wednesday's trip to Arsenal.

There will be no European run next season but Shakespeare feels the players, including Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Drinkwater, will stay.

He said: " We have said before we don't want to be a selling club. All the players are happy here. They are a very unique group, we have created something here which is quite special, so they have said they are quite happy.

"It's again one of those things. I have no problems with players being ambitious but they are at a good club here and get looked after well. I'm sure the time will come to sit down.

"We will probably have agents knocking on the door but we've said before we don't want to be a selling club and we want to add to that."

Shakespeare's future is also yet to be decided with his short-term contract as manager expiring at the end of the season.

His deal as assistant manager will continue beyond June and Shakespeare knows it cannot be allowed to drag on, even if he appears to be in pole position as he puts his summer plans in place.

"I'm sure the owners and the board are aware of that," said Shakespeare, who has won six of his 10 games in charge.

"I am in charge of pre-season. We are looking at that. I have had one meeting about recruitment, which I really enjoyed.

"Any time the club wishes to talk about recruitment or pre-season, of course I have an interest in it. Pre-season is sorted, so any things like that, that involves me, I am happy to be involved."

Shakespeare takes the Foxes to Arsenal without Wes Morgan, out with a hamstring injury, and midfielder Nampalys Mendy.

The 24-year-old has been ruled out for the rest of the season after having an operation to finally resolve his long-term ankle problem.

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