Drinkwater must learn to cope without Kante, admits Ranieri

Date published: Saturday 27th August 2016 1:12

Danny Drinkwater: Midfielder shone alongside Kante

Danny Drinkwater: Midfielder shone alongside Kante

Claudio Ranieri admits Danny Drinkwater must learn how to cope in Leicester’s midfield without N’Golo Kante alongside him.

The midfielder signed a new five-year contract on Thursday to become the latest player to commit his future to the club.

Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan, Andy King, Kasper Schmeichel, Riyad Mahrez and Ben Chilwell have all penned new deals since Leicester won a shock Premier League title last season.

Kante bucked the trend and joined Chelsea for £32million in July and Ranieri wants England man Drinkwater to adapt his game after the loss of his team-mate.

“Danny has to change something because with Kante he made a very good couple,” said the Italian, ahead of Saturday’s visit of Swansea.

“Both are a little free but they linked well because when one went forward the other covered and they swapped well. Now we have to restart to find the right solution. (Nampalys) Mendy is out so I want to see (Andy) King or another midfielder and what they can do.

“I think Danny can get better, last season he played all the matches, more or less, it’s the first season he played so many and now he is getting better.

“It’s also good for him to play in the Champions League so he can increase and improve his international matches.”

Drinkwater joined Vardy in signing a new contract with the England striker having committed his future to the club until 2020 in June.

Last season’s 24-goal top scorer is yet to get off the mark in the league, having scored in Leicester’s 2-1 Community Shield defeat to Manchester United, and Ranieri feels he is now getting special attention.

He said: “Yes, of course. Last season Jamie was a dangerous man, now he is dangerous and a goalscorer. I’m not worried because Jamie is very focused on this.”

The Foxes were drawn in Group G of the Champions League on Thursday and face Porto, Club Brugge and FC Copenhagen, starting in Belgium next month, but Ranieri insisted they have been able to keep focused.

“I hope, it’s another step,” he added.

“I told the players many times ‘when you play in Europe you spend a lot of mental energy’ but this is another step. When we come back from the Champions League it’s important to see how we react and play.”

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