International breaks are always tough for club-over-country fans like myself, and it’s even worse when it’s nothing but friendlies. No fewer than 16 Leicester City senior and youth players have been involved in international action through Friday. No more than 16, to tell the truth. 16 is the correct number.
When we’re talking about friendlies, there’s only one statistic that matters and I’ll get right to it: Through Friday night, no Leicester players have suffered any injuries of note (UPDATE: since writing it’s been announced Harry Maguire suffered a minor hamstring strain. He’ll be fine for Leicester, but is unlikely to feature against Italy). With that out of the way, here’s how our Foxes fared on international duty this week:
Both Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire had to settle for spots on the bench for England against Holland Friday night. It was only 10 minutes before Maguire was called into action as Joe Gomez limped off with an injury. The former Hull City defender did his chances of making the squad no harm as England kept a clean sheet in Amsterdam, defeating the Oranje 1-0. Vardy received a 22 minute run-out but somehow failed to get a single touch despite running tirelessly and making a nuisance of himself.
Three Foxes were involved in Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over Poland in Wroclaw. Wilfred Ndidi played the entire 90 minutes. Kelechi Iheanacho started and played 82 minutes as the number 10 behind the main striker, and Ahmed Musa, currently on loan to CSKA Moscow, came on a 59th minute substitute.
Riyad Mahrez’ Algeria cruised to a 4-1 win over Tanzania in Algiers. The former Le Havre winger didn’t get in on the scoring but had two assists and generally made a menace of himself for the full 90.
Kasper Schmeichel’s Denmark cruised to a comfortable 1-0 win over Panama in Brøndby. The City stopper only faced 3 shots (1 on goal) over the entire 90 minutes en route to another clean sheet.
City legend Andy King, currently on loan at Swansea, added to his club-record number of international caps. Kingy went the distance in Wales’ 6-0 triumph over China in Guangxi.
Yohan Benalouanne received his first full cap for Tunisia in Rades on Friday. The Eagles of Carthage defeated Iran 1-0 with the former Atalanta defender playing the entire match.
Congratulations Yohan! It’s been a long wait.
Aleksandar Dragovic and Adrien Silva were unused substitutes for Austria and Portugal respectively.
Demarai Gray was made captain for the England U21s for their 2-1 win over Romania and celebrated in style with a goal in the 8th minute.
City U23s star George Thomas started for the Wales U21s in the Dragons’ 1-0 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both Darnell Johnson and Harvey Barnes started for the England U20s against Poland, grinding out a 1-0 victory in Bielsko-Biała. Winger Callum Wright played for the England U18s in a 4-0 victory over Qatar.
There’s one more round of matches to play, so keep your fingers crossed and hope that our internationals play well, play hard, secure their places on World Cup squads, and most importantly, avoid injury.