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Puel pleased Maguire’s Old Trafford opener will be in a Leicester shirt

The former Sheffield United and Hull man was one of England’s stand-out performers at the World Cup.

Leicester boss Claude Puel was bracing himself for interest in Harry Maguire as he watched the defender’s performances at the World Cup.

The 25-year-old, a target for Manchester United, starred as England reached the semi-finals in Russia, where Puel believes his player announced himself as “one of the best” centre-halves in the world.

Puel was not exactly watching through his fingers but when asked if he expected other clubs to want to sign Maguire on the back of his displays this summer, the Frenchman admitted he was not surprised.

“Yes, of course I did. It’s a difficulty but my first feeling was that it is amazing for this player to show their quality and it’s good publicity for Leicester,” said Puel, who feels Maguire now has the confidence that he belongs on the world stage.

“When he came back after the World Cup he could maybe feel almost cocky. He could have been, but he’s not. He came back with humility and with desire and will.

“He is one of the best, there are a lot of good players from this World Cup, but he showed a good attitude like the man he is.”

Maguire is thought to have been Manchester United’s number one transfer target as they looked to sign a central defender ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Talks between the two clubs reportedly took place but the move did not  materialise and Maguire is likely to play against United at Old Trafford when the new Premier League season begins on Friday night.

Puel outlined some of the qualities he thought made Maguire of interest to United.

He said: “I was happy with the progress of Harry in the second half of last season. He played with consistency and good progress, was strong in his defensive aspect and with quality to start with the ball.

“I like a player with a possibility to start from the back and Harry is this player. He showed this in the national team.

“He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic man because he listens a lot, he wants to improve, he has a good personality and character but always with good respect for the staff and his team-mates.”

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