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Ranieri demands more from Mahrez this season

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told Riyad Mahrez he must improve after the winger committed his future to the east midlands club.

The Algeria international penned a new four-year deal on Wednesday to end transfer speculation having been heavily linked to Arsenal.

Mahrez is staying with Leicester for now. Credit: PA

The Gunners come to the champions on Saturday having also failed to persuade Jamie Vardy to quit Leicester and move to north London.

Ranieri said: "We are now in the Champions League and we need something more to play against the big teams. Now he knows very well what I want and my expectations are higher. Not only for Riyad but for all my players.

"I was so sure (he would stay), it was only speculation with first Vardy and then Mahrez and we only lost (N'Golo) Kante. Now it's important to stay together.

"We spoke together last season and in pre-season and he told me he wanted to stay. Speculation is normal.

"I want to keep our big players, that's normal. Our owner is very ambitious, he wants to maintain the same squad. It's normal other managers are looking at Leicester players, there's no message - we are building and want to stay together.

"He signed for four years, me too because I want to build. He wants to build something, Jamie wants to, Kasper (Schmeichel), everybody. It is good."


  1. National

Stoke goalkeeper Butland could be fit to face Man City

Butland missed Euro 2016 through injury. Credit: PA

Jack Butland could be fit for Stoke's Premier League home clash with Manchester City this weekend, Potters assistant boss Mark Bowen has revealed.

Goalkeeper Butland missed the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday having sustained an injury in training the day before to the same ankle he broke while on England duty in March.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes stressed after the game on Teesside it was not a recurrence of the fracture that ended the 23-year-old's 2015-16 campaign, describing it as a "bang" that "should settle down in the next two or three weeks, hopefully."

And, giving an update on Tuesday to BBC Radio Stoke ahead of Saturday's match at the Britannia Stadium, Bowen said: "Jack hasn't trained today but he has been out there, in the sunshine, with a big smile on his face which was good for us all to see.

"He tells me that he is feeling fine, and depending on how the rest of the week goes there may even be a chance of him being ready for the game on Saturday - although I say that with caution.

  1. National

Former Aston Villa manager: Atkinson death a 'tragedy'

Dalian Atkinson (r) died after he was hit by a police stun gun. Credit: Tony Harris / PA Wire

Former Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson has said the death of ex-player Dalian Atkinson after he was reportedly Tasered by police, is "an out-and-out tragedy".

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Atkinson said the former striker was "a really popular player".

This is an out-and-out tragedy. He was a really popular player with teammates. He was a really generous lad - sometimes too generous for his own good - but a good lad.

He always had a smile on his face and I really like that in a player. He also had terrific ability. I always knew I didn't need to worry about him in big games.

– Ron Atkinson
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