English Premiership

Ranieri: Okazaki is Leicester's alarm clock

2016-10-28 19:00
Shinji Okazaki (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Shinji Okazaki is pivotal to waking up the rest of his Leicester City team-mates and spurring them into action, says manager Claudio Ranieri.

The Japan international returned to the Leicester starting XI for last weekend's clash against Crystal Palace and was on the scoresheet, as the reigning Premier League champions secured a first win in four games.

But Ranieri was equally impressed by Okazaki's non-stop work-rate, which he believes was contagious in spreading throughout the rest of the team.

"He [Okazaki] is a hard worker," said Ranieri. "Sometimes he's not so close to goal, but when the ball is around the box, Shinji is always there.

"He is important for the team because he presses a lot - he is our dilly ding, dilly dong. He wakes up our players - he has the bell."

Okazaki took the place of last season's top scorer Jamie Vardy against Palace - leaving Ranieri with a welcome selection for tomorrow's trip to Spurs.

"Against Crystal Palace we went back to our old philosophy, everybody closed, everybody with the same discipline and I recognised them again," Ranieri added.

"It's important we don't go back and stay this way. But everything can affect you - it's normal. They are humans, not machines."

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