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Shakespeare could rest key men ahead of Atléti match

Leicester City could face Everton on Sunday without Schmeichel, Vardy, and Mahrez, as Craig Shakespeare ponders keeping them fresh for the Champions League

Shakespeare could rest key men ahead of Atléti match
Michael ReganGetty Images

Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare has an unexpected and, in some ways, welcome problem ahead of Sunday's Premier League match away to Everton.

Having taken over in late February with the reigning champions sliding towards relegation, Shakespeare finds himself five league games and five wins later pondering the possibility of resting players at Goodison Park to protect them for a huge occasion next week. Leicester City beat Sevilla to progress to the Champions League quarter-final, the first in the club's history.

No Morgan in Madrid

With captain Wes Morgan already set to miss the first leg of Leicester's match against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday with a back injury, Shakespeare is considering leaving out other key players on Merseyside.

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Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez and star striker Jamie Vardy are among the established senior players who might be held back for the tie in Spain, now that Leicester are on the brink of Premier League safety with eight games to spare.

"I will assess the squad over the next 24 hours and chat with the staff but I will pick a team that can win at Everton," said Shakespeare on Friday.

"It is about trying to get the right balance," added the Englishman, promoted from within Leicester's coaching set-up after the Midlands club's Thai owners took the controversial decision to sack title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.

"The players understand the challenge ahead and I will make sure I will make my judgement by watching them in training, see how they are and also pick a competitive team in those games."

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Michael ReganGetty Images

Benalouane to play against Atléti

Frenchman Yohan Benalouane is likely to deputise both at Everton and in Spain, having played the last three games in Morgan's absence.

Those three matches have been Benalouane's only appearances for The Foxes this season. 

Atlético Madrid will go in to the match at the Calderón following a 1-1 draw in a keenly-fought derby against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. Antoine Griezmann scored a late equaliser for Diego Simeone's team.


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