Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has issued warning to AFCON 2015 bound Jeffrey Schlupp and Riyad Mahrez ahead of the African showpiece in Equatorial Guinea
Schlupp, who is recovering from a knee injury is due to fly out to a Ghana training camp this week in Spain while Mahrez is set to link up with the Algeria squad.
Pearson admits he is disappointed to be missing two players in such good form ahead of a vital period for his side, but he said they must remember who pays their wages and be ready for action immediately on their return.
‘My message to them is come back fit and, when you do come back, don’t take an age to get back into the form you are in,’ said Pearson.
‘I spoke to an agent the other day who works in France and deals with a lot of players who play in France.
‘They have a lot of players who are involved in the Africa Cup of Nations and he said the biggest problem was that they are away for a month and, when they come back, it takes them another month to get back up to speed.
‘It is not just about them being away, they are in a different climate, the training techniques may be different, the intensity of English football is what it is. In my experience in the past, when players have gone away they come back very lethargic and don’t always recognise what is expected of them.
‘I can’t stop them going. I am disappointed they are going because they are in form for us, but they have an obligation to play and must be prepared to come back in and do a job for us.
‘I have always been a big supporter of players playing for their country but they need to recognise who pays their wages.
‘We have an important season ahead so when they come back they had better be ready. I suppose most managers would be saying the same thing.
‘The problem is it is a completely different culture and style of football.
‘It is pretty slow and it is a million miles away from what we are about in this league.’
Pearson said any decision on Schlupp would be taken with the player’s best interests in mind.
‘They may have the ability to utilise international rules about calling players up, but he is our player and we will make sure his well-being is top of the agenda. We will see what happens over the next few days.’
The tournament kicks off in Equatorial Guinea on January 17 and is set to finish on February 8
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