Belfast Telegraph

Gary Lineker hits out as Leicester appoint 'Tinkerman' Ranieri

By Robert Jones

Leicester have appointed Claudio Ranieri as their new manager, but former club icon Gary Lineker has called the Italian's hiring "uninspiring".

The Barclays Premier League club confirmed Ranieri, 63, has signed a three-year deal at the King Power Stadium to replace Nigel Pearson, who was relieved of his duties last month because the club insisted "fundamental differences in perspective exist between us".

Ranieri's 29-year managerial career has spanned 14 clubs across five countries, including European giants such as Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, but ex-Foxes and England striker Lineker is less than impressed with the decision taken by his old side's hierarchy.

"Claudio Ranieri is clearly experienced, but this is an uninspired choice by Leicester," he said on BreatheSport.

"It's amazing how the same old names keep getting a go on the managerial merry-go-round."

Ranieri has been out of work since a winless four-game stint with Greece in 2014 was ended after the country were beaten 1-0 by minnows the Faroe Islands.

Prior to that Northern Ireland won 2-0 in Athens in the Euro 2016 qualifiers when Kyle Lafferty scored and tormented the Greeks piling the pressure on Ranieri, who became known as the 'Tinkerman' during his time at Stamford Bridge.

It is more than 10 years since he last managed on these shores with Chelsea, who he took to the Champions League semi-finals and to second place in the 2003-04 Premier League table behind Arsenal's 'Invincibles' before being replaced by Jose Mourinho.

He said: "I'm so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City.

''I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again.

''I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the club for the opportunity they are giving me. Now I've only one way for returning their trust: squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team.''

Leicester were keen on recruiting a high-profile boss and considered former Foxes manager Martin O'Neill, now in charge of the Republic of Ireland, and ex-Leicester midfielder Neil Lennon, the boss of Bolton, before opting for Ranieri. The Italian is keen to bring in his own players. He could do worse than go for Norwich star Lafferty.

Belfast Telegraph


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