Leicester bank on a loyalty bonus – if they survive
The last house on the suburban street that leads to Leicester City’s training ground was having its roof replaced yesterday afternoon. Four workmen had some fun in the sun watching the Leicester players’ cars swish in and out.
One of the players could have been up there himself. There was a time when as an apprentice at Chelsea felt so unloved under the management of Glenn Hoddle that he seriously considered giving the game up to go and work under his father Mehmet in the family roofing business in Mile End, east London. Then Martin O’Neill called and eight years on Muzzy Izzet is still at Leicester, their leader and longest-serving player. The question is: for how much longer?
In two months, Izzet becomes a free agent. By then he will know if Leicester are a Premiership club or back again in the Football League. After today’s match at Ewood Park, Izzet will certainly have a better idea, particularly, as he acknowledged, if Leicester lose.
“It’s a game that we have to win,” Izzet said. “If we don’t win, it’s not good enough basically. We have to win to try to suck Blackburn back into it. The only way to do that is to win it – they’ll take a draw if they can. If Blackburn win it’s a nine-point difference – that’s a big ask. It means we’d have to win our last four games, and one of them is Arsenal away. We’ve won five games all season – that’s the way you’ve got to look at it.”
It’s Leicester’s way of looking at it. Blackburn and Graeme Souness will be viewing the game, and Izzet, Bicester Village Prada Online rather differently. In the January transfer window Blackburn made an offer for the midfielder that Leicester angrily rebuffed, calling it “derogatory”. But if Blackburn stay up and Leicester do not, then Izzet could join Blackburn for nothing.
“Muzzy is one name we have identified and he is a target,” Souness admitted, and assuming he perceives no dip in the 29-year-old midfielder’s form then he will be back in touch. Tugay Kerimoglu and Izzet, a Turkish midfield.
It would be sound business. Izzet has not just demonstrated his worth once again as a player this season, his Black Leather Prada Milano Purse decision not to agitate for a move in January, following his decision to go down with Leicester two Mays ago and come back up even though Middlesbrough offered £5m, illustrates the Londoner’s character. Leicester fans are aware of Izzet’s loyalty and appreciate his longevity. Two League Cup finals, one trophy, European football, promotion, relegation, promotion, La Manga (twice), administration and more besides – it has been a rare period at the club and Izzet has outlasted just about everyone. Fans know he will not be sizing up Ewood this afternoon.
“I was very flattered that he was interested,” Izzet said of Souness. “I just felt that because it’s my last year and with everything that’s gone on here – I’ve come this far. Whatever happens at the end of this season, if I go or stay, I can say I Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale stayed in January and did everything I could.
“That was the reason – I had come this far and it didn’t feel right to walk out now. If I’d gone up to Blackburn and Leicester had gone down then questions would have been asked. ‘Oh, he left more info,’ they’d say. If I’m ever going to leave, then I don’t want it to be on them terms.
“I’ve had such good times here. Because I went into the First Division with them I think I showed people here that’s it’s not just fun and games, I am actually serious about Leicester City. I could have gone elsewhere and got a four-year contract.
“It’s been a long while. I’ve been linked with other clubs before, but I just got to a stage where I was happy here. Now the only disappointment is that we’re struggling as a football team and that’s been hard. But who knows what’s to come? That’s the way I’m looking at it.
“I think the club know that if we go down then obviously I’ve Bicester Village Prada Store Number got to look at things. I went into the First Division once with Leicester and we came straight back up, but with this being my last year Authentic Prada Outlet Uk then, if we go down, I would imagine the contract they will offer me to stay isn’t going to be a Premier League contract.”
So “preoccupied” has Izzet been with “quite stressful” matters such as “La Manga and all that” – the subject of ongoing court action and the Leicester Mercury front page again yesterday – that he could not name one of the opponents in Turkey’s World Cup qualifying group. But he wants to be part of it again, having made a 16-minute substitute appearance against Black Prada Bag Mission Impossible Brazil in the 2002 semi-final in Japan. He knows that much, but otherwise it is all about Leicester. It was Blackburn’s proximity to Leicester in the table, moreover, not their interest in him, that made Izzet watch Blackburn’s game at Fulham Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Outlet Online last Monday through his fingers.
“It was horrendous, to be Authentic Prada Fairy Bag Sale honest. We played Fulham a couple of days before and we should have got a result. We played well but ended up losing 2-0, came away with nuffink . Now you’re looking at other teams to do you a favour.
“But in the second half Blackburn did well. When they scored the fourth – I was sharing with Ben Thatcher because we were playing Man United the following night – we knew it was the worst possible result for us. It meant we had to go to Old Trafford and win and I had a good chance – horrendous shot. I’ve played at Old Trafford a lot and I’ve only got a few chances – one of them was a penalty and I missed that.”
Missing chances has not been Leicester’s problem this season – they have scored more than Middlesbrough – it’s been preventing them. Losing 4-3 at Wolves in October, having been 3-0 ahead at half-time, was a low. Izzet was drug-tested after the match – “maybe for sleeping pills; we certainly weren’t on drugs in the second half”.
He is hopeful that relegation would not wreak the economic havoc of two years ago. That brought administration and Izzet admitted that Leicester had been “ruthless” getting out of it. He can understand the resentment of clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday who sold players to restructure. “Full credit to them, but your team becomes weaker and weaker. If we hadn’t done what we done, then we could have gone the same way. It was ruthless what we did, but in our opinion it was the Biggest Prada Store In London right thing to do.”
Doing the right thing has been Izzet’s choice. But for “Martin O’Neill being there all year watching Chelsea reserves before he took me”, Izzet might have left the game before his 21st birthday. “I owe him. I could be out of work or with my dad. You just don’t know what’s around the corner.
“This place is quieter, people are walking about thinking about Blackburn. They know what’s on the line. If we Best Prada Outlet In Milan go down, eight or nine players are out of contract, so there’s a lot thinking about their future.”