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Leicester Stock Watch: Choudhury breaks through

One final look for the season at who improved their standing within the club, and who hurt it.

Burnley v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Leicester City’s season has finally come to an end with mixed results. The team finished comfortably safe from relegation in the top-half of the table, but threw away several chances at a much better outcome. Perhaps hopes were too high for Little Leicester, but with the talent at hand finishing above Everton and Burnley would have been a reasonable goal.

The final three matches of the season were representative of the season in a way; the team only picked up three points along the way, but did so in an unorthodox way. The Foxes stunk it up against West Ham and lost 2-0 in what should have been a winnable matchup, then unexpectedly put it back together and dispatched Arsenal with a 3-1 win. Lastly, City lost a wild 5-4 affair to Tottenham, but possibly deserved more than that result. During this stretch a few Foxes helped or hurt their stock, but one in particular made a breakthrough:

Stock Up

Hamza Choudhury: The academy graduate took his shot at first-team action and ran with it. Over the last three games he showed the necessary consistency to be a senior squad member for good. He was one of the lone bright spots in the otherwise dismal display against West Ham, and carried that momentum into the win against Arsenal, winning Fosse Posse Man of the Match honors. In the season’s final game, he was a 55th minute substitute and played in a foreign position, filling in at right-back. That performance wasn’t his best and yet he still managed to be involved. Choudhury’s activity and defensive fervor are hallmarks of what could become a great career at Leicester City.

Demarai Gray: This season didn’t work out quite as planned for Demarai Gray. When it began, it seemed inevitable that Riyad Mahrez would depart and Gray would replace him in the XI. That, of course, never materialized, and he even found himself behind new-signing Fousseni Diabaté in the pecking order at times. In the last three games of the season, he took it upon himself to make a difference when he was afforded the opportunity to play. He was a second-half substitute against both West Ham and Arsenal, and showed his energy and ability in both games. Against Tottenham he was rewarded with a spot in the XI and once again showed how explosive he can be (aside from one crucial defensive error). With the summer upon us and questions about his future sure to arise, Gray did a good job of closing the season with displays of the talents that make him such a valuable asset.

Leicester City v Sheffield United - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Demarai Gray reaching full-stride and striking fear into the hearts of defenders.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Christian Fuchs: The Austrian was called upon to replace the injured Ben Chilwell and acquitted himself admirably. He, too, was one of the only positives in the West Ham game, and if you ignore that pesky own-goal against Spurs, he maintained his form throughout the final two games. In this three-game sample he totaled 6 tackles, 11 interceptions, and 13 clearances according to Fuchs paired these defensive efforts with efficient contributions to attack, proving he is still a valuable member of the squad despite being supplanted by Chilwell.

Stock Down

Vicente Iborra: An injury had seemingly ended his season a few weeks ago, but Iborra returned to action sooner than expected. Unfortunately, he never looked fully back to speed. He struggled mightily against West Ham and made almost no discernible impact on either end of the pitch. Iborra was rested against the Gunners, but returned against Tottenham and again struggled to get involved. With the emergence of Hamza Choudhury and (hopefully) the return of Wilfred Ndidi, next season should provide heavy amounts of competition for Iborra’s place in the side.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League
Vicente Iborra chasing shadows as had become routine on the day.
Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

Danny Simpson: The trusty defender returned in time to replace the suspended Marc Albrighton as the team’s starting right-back, but he, too, seemed a little slow after a short recovery period. Simpson started against both Arsenal and Tottenham and couldn’t seem to knock the rust off, resulting in one bone-headed giveaway and two early substitutions. With the rumors of a replacement for Simpson bubbling, it could very well be that these were his last games in Leicester City blue.