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Ranieri hopes Leicester fans give Kante hero's reception

N'Golo Kante won the league with Leicester last season. Credit: PA

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri hopes N'Golo Kante will get a hero's welcome when he makes his first return to the Foxes.

The midfielder quit the champions for Chelsea in a £32million deal in the summer after helping them win the Premier League last season.

He was the only key member of the title-winning team to leave the King Power Stadium following their shock success as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Kasper Schmeichel signed new contracts.

Kante returns with Chelsea in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday and Ranieri is looking forward to their reunion.

"I am very happy and I will give to him a very warm welcome back and I am sure also our fans they must appreciate what he did last season and give him a warm welcome," he said.

"I will be very happy if our fans clap him at the beginning and afterwards he is an enemy.

"They must understand that when arrives a big team it is difficult to say no. For this reason I say thank you to Jamie Vardy and his family, and to Riyad when they decided to stay here. For us it was important to maintain everybody.

"He was very important for us and I think he was even more important for us than at Chelsea because Chelsea have so many big players."

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Leicester appoint former Liverpool scout Macia

Eduardo Macia is Leicester's new Head of Senior Player Recruitment. Credit: PA

Leicester have named the former Liverpool, Valencia and Real Betis scout Eduardo Macia as their new Head of Senior Player Recruitment.

Leicester had been searching for a replacement for Ben Wrigglesworth for several months, the man responsible for unearthing Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante, who was prized away by Arsenal in February.

It was at Valencia that the 42 year-old worked with current Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri, while he also spent four years alongside Rafael Benitez at Liverpool from 2006.

Leicester director of football Jon Rudkin told the club's official website:

Eduardo's appointment follows an extensive process undertaken by the football club to identify a candidate of outstanding experience that would contribute significantly to the long-term development of our player recruitment strategy.

His expertise and network of contacts will add considerable strength to our existing team of recruitment staff, whose skill and diligence contributed greatly to a successful summer transfer window.

To appoint someone of Eduardo's calibre further highlights the club's ambition to strengthen its standing in the game and to realise our owners' vision of success that is both lasting and sustainable.

– Leicester director of football Jon Rudkin

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."

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Morgan: Leicester can defy odds to defend title

Wes Morgan is confident Leicester can defend the Premier League title. Credit: PA

Leicester captain Wes Morgan believes his side can defy the odds again by defending their Premier League title.

The Foxes' 5000/1 success last year captured the nation's imagination but they once again find themselves behind the division's traditional heavyweights in the pre-season betting.

Morgan, though, insists there is no lack of belief in the dressing room.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester United, Morgan told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek: "Last season no-one thought it was possible and we did that, so why not? We're defending champions, we're full of confidence, we know what we're capable of.

"On our day we are capable of beating anyone so I don't see we can't go ahead and do it again.

"We're going to have to be ready for the onslaught, so to speak, but that's to be expected as defending champions. We'll be ready when the time comes."

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