Sports

Jul 182016
 
Kasper Schmeichel started every Premier League game as Claudio Ranieri led Leicester to the title last season

Leicester City will defend the Premier League title with the same determination it took to become champions last season, says Foxes goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The unlikely title win by a team who were 5000-1 outsiders was described as one of the great sporting stories.

Schmeichel, 29, told BBC East Midlands Today: “I can assure you the hunger is 100% still there.

“We have to go again, do exactly the same again and see where it takes us.”

Schmeichel was an ever-present for the Foxes in the Premier League last season.

The Dane was speaking prior to France midfielder N’Golo Kante’s move from the King Power Stadium to Chelsea for a fee believed to be in the region of £30m.

The club begin the new campaign against Manchester United in the Community Shield on Sunday, 7 August, with their Premier League title defence beginning six days later when they visit promoted Hull City .

‘We trust each other’

Former Manchester City, Notts County and Leeds United goalkeeper Schmeichel said no specific goals had been set for the new season.

“We have never said ‘this is what we are aiming for’,” the Dane said. “We go out, we work hard for each other and do our best. That is all we ask of each other.

“If someone is not pulling their weight – which barely ever happens – then they will be told. Part of being a really good squad is the togetherness and being able to trust each other.

“We know that each day we go out on the training pitch or play a game that everyone is on it and everyone will give everything they have got.”

Analysis

BBC East Midlands Today’s Tom Brown

“I felt like I’d asked the wrong question. Kasper Schmeichel just looked at me, staring me down as he might a striker before a penalty, before slowly delivering the one-sentence answer I deserved when I enquired about their motivation for the season ahead.

“‘I can assure you the hunger is 100% still there’,” he said.

“So there we go. Leicester City are not satisfied by just winning the Premier League once. In fact, the club that’s grown used to defying expectations is ready to do it all over again.

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Ranieri dreams of another trophy with Leicester

“According to most bookmakers, the Foxes are more likely to be relegated than retain their Premier League title next season.

“The departure of N’Golo Kante has fuelled opinions that Leicester will struggle this time out. But Schmeichel’s steely determination was clear to see – as he also pointed out they’re not going into the Champions League to make up the numbers.

“Just like his manager, he’s aiming for even more success.”

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Ragnar Klavan played for Augsburg against Liverpool in the Europa League last season

Liverpool are closing in on a deal to sign Augsburg central defender Ragnar Klavan for a fee of £4.2m.

The Estonia captain, 30, would act as cover for Frenchman Mamadou Sakho, who is expected to miss the start of the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is keen to strengthen his defensive resources after Kolo Toure was released and Martin Skrtel sold to Fenerbahce.

Klavan would be the Reds’ fourth signing of the summer.

Klopp has already signed Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius, Schalke centre-back Joel Matip and Southampton forward Sadio Mane this summer.

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Paul Trollope (left) played alongside Chris Coleman for Wales and Fulham

Paul Trollope is set to leave Wales’ coaching staff to concentrate on his role as Cardiff City’s head coach.

Trollope succeeded Russell Slade as Bluebirds boss in May and has been working with Wales since July 2015.

He is expected to be replaced in the Welsh set-up by predecessor Kit Symons.

Having been Wales manager Chris Coleman’s number two since 2012, Symons left in June 2015 to take charge of Fulham, but the 45-year-old was sacked six month later.

That paves the way for Symons to return to his international role with Coleman, his former Wales and Fulham centre-back partner.

Trollope was with Wales during their historic Euro 2016 campaign, helping his country reach a major tournament semi-final for the first time.

He had been juggling international duties with his club commitments, having joined Slade’s coaching team at Cardiff in February 2015.

Slade was removed as manager of the Championship club at the end of last season and was initially given a new role as head of football, but lasted only 28 days in the job before leaving the club.

That allowed former Wales, Derby and Fulham midfielder Trollope to take the reins.

He will be assisted by ex-Cardiff boss Lennie Lawrence – who he worked with at Bristol Rovers – and James Rowberry, while Wales’ head of performance Ryland Morgans has joined the Bluebirds as performance director.

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