Gary Lineker slams Ranieri appointment

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Leicester have appointed the vastly-experienced Claudio Ranieri as their new manager, but former club icon Gary Lineker has called the Italian’s hiring “uninspiring”.

The 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.

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.

Ranieri has managed in Spain, Italy and France since but revealed he has always harboured aspirations of returning to English football’s top flight.

He told the club’s official website: “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 to succeed Pearson and both Guus Hiddink and former Foxes manager Martin O’Neill, now in charge of the Republic of Ireland, had been heavily linked with the vacancy.

But the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha called Ranieri “one of the world’s elite managers” and insists it was his vast experience that set him apart.

Srivaddhanaprabha said: “It is my great pleasure to welcome Claudio Ranieri – a man of remarkable experience and knowledge that will lead us into the next phase of our long-term plan for Leicester City.

“His achievements in the game, his knowledge of English football and his record of successfully coaching some of the world’s finest players made him the outstanding candidate for the job and his ambitions for the future reflect our own.

“To have attracted one of the world’s elite managers speaks volumes both for the progress Leicester City has made in recent years and for the potential that remains for the club’s long-term development.”

Ranieri met the Leicester squad on Monday afternoon and he will oversee his first training session on Tuesday morning, assisted by Craig Shakespeare, Steve Walsh and the existing City backroom team.

He will remain with the group for the remainder of their training camp in Bad Radkersburg, Austria before taking charge of pre-season friendlies against Lincoln, Mansfield, Burton, Rotherham and Birmingham.

The Foxes begin their Premier League campaign against Sunderland at the King Power Stadium on August 8.

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