Football

Hodgson linked to Leicester vacancy

Reports suggest former England boss has been approached, 
but Leicester defender Simpson backs caretaker boss Shakespeare

Leicester have refused to respond to reports that former England manager Roy Hodgson has been approached about their managerial vacancy.

The reigning Premier League champions have been looking for a new manager since sacking title-winning boss Claudio Ranieri last Thursday.

In the first game since Ranieri's departure - under caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare - the Foxes beat Liverpool 3-1 on Monday to climb out of the relegation zone.

Hodgson was England manager until suffering the ignominy of an exit to Iceland at Euro 2016, following which his contract with the Football Association was not renewed.

Former Chelsea caretaker boss Guus Hiddink, ex-Man City manager Roberto Mancini and Ranieri's predecessor Nigel Pearson have also been linked to the Leicester hotseat.

Leicester defender Danny Simpson, though, has backed the 53-year-old Shakespeare to take on the role permanently.

TOP GUY

He said: "I can't see why not, but it's the chairman's decision. It's up to him and he owns the club, he is passionate about the club. Those decisions are nothing to do with us but, for me, he (Shakespeare) has been really good.

"Since day one, he has helped me a lot. He is a top coach, a top guy and he has taken it on naturally.

"He has kept it simple and told us what he wanted to do, which was simple and basic, and we've done that so let's hope we can carry it on for him.

"He's always been in between whoever the boss is and us, so he's been good.

"He's taken it on well and it must have been tough for him. Everyone in the dressing room and at the club proved a little point (against Liverpool)."

Leicester host fellow strugglers Hull City on Saturday, and another win would certainly see Shakespeare increase his chances of nailing the job.

The Foxes' victory over Liverpool snapped a nine-match winless streak in all competitions in normal time, and ended their wait for an EPL goal in 2017.

On whether the dismissal of Ranieri was a right decision, Simpson said they will know only at the end of the campaign.

"We don't know that until the end of the season," he said. "We don't know if the manager (Ranieri) was there (on Monday) whether we would have won.

"It's all ifs and buts. For me, Claudio was fantastic, he revived my career. I learned a lot from him and I said that to him.

"It happened, it was the chairman's decision and we went out there and looked back to our old selves."

DENIAL

But Simpson reiterated no one in the squad tried to get Ranieri the sack after reports of meetings with the club's Thai owners.

"No, and it's not nice to hear that," he said.

"The chairman is his own man and he makes his decisions. All we have to do is play football.

"We know we haven't played how we can - we're first to admit that - but we have to carry on. Leicester carries on."

Former Leicester head of recruitment Steve Walsh, who also previously served as their assistant manager, said that Ranieri would have expected what was heading his way given the wretched spell of results.

He said: "We are in a results-led business and I think Claudio as much as everyone else knows that - as do I.

"You need to get results to maintain that level and if you don't get results, you have to suffer the consequences." - PA SPORT

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