Soccer News of Sunday, 28 August 2016
Claudio Ranieri likes what he saw from Daniel Amartey in Leicester City’s victory over Swansea City on Saturday, but doesn’t believe the Ghana international can replace N’Golo Kante in the heart of the midfield.
While Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have all remained at the King Power Stadium, Kante left the club this summer to move to Chelsea in a £30 million deal.
Without him, the Foxes lacked something of the intensity and tenacity that characterised their performances during their title-winning campaign and took just one point from their opening two matches, losing against Hull City in their opener and drawing 0-0 with Arsenal in their second match.
Ranieri has several options as he looks to replace Kante, with both Andy King and Nampalys Mendy given the opportunity to shine alongside Drinkwater so far this season.
It was Amartey, who moved to the East Midlands from FC Kobenhavn midway through last season, who was handed a start on Saturday as Leicester beat Swansea thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and captain Wes Morgan.
“He played very, very well,” Ranieri told journalists after the match, when questioned about Amartey’s performance. “He knows very well the Premier League and I have one player more.
“I am very pleased with him,” the Italian coach added. “(He is) solid and strong in the midfield.”
However, despite the praise, the 64-year-old doesn’t believe that Amartey (or anyone else for that matter) could replicate the impact France international Kante had last season.
“Kante is one,” Ranieri added. “There isn’t another in the world.”
Finally, while the Black Star has featured in defence for the Foxes, Ranieri believes that the 21-year-old is best equipped for a role in the centre of the midfield.
Are we set to see a lot more of Amartey in action alongside Drinkwater this season?