Who’s to blame for Leicester relegation? Part 6: central midfield

Youri Tielemans of Leicester City (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Youri Tielemans of Leicester City (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) /
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Leicester City fans have been accused of not creating hotbed environments for their players this season, mainly by their own fans. Maybe the supporters have been hypnotised by the swirling green space in the middle of the park called central midfield. An enigma to many in the Foxes squad, not least the central midfielders themselves.

Youri Tielemans – Leicester City Games (37) – Goals (4)

It seems like for two years we’ve known that the star Belgian would be plying his trade at another club and to soften that blow he’s turned in some truly dreadful performances to make City fans not miss him so much.

That incredible goal in the FA Cup final 2021 will always be remembered and written into Leicester folklore, but what the history books should also note is how after the World Cup in 2022, Tielemans simply wasn’t at it in his final five months for the club. Whether subconsciously or not, the hard yards weren’t being put in and the creative magic that has produced special moments dissipated. Perhaps he was concentrating too hard on how his farewell video would be edited, which would explain how he was closed down so easily by Wolves players in April. Playing in this double pivot in midfield has been to his detriment, with his physical flaws exposed so frequently.

There were glimmers of magic earlier in that little purple patch of form in October 2022, with two stunning strikes at Molineux and Goodison Park reminding us of his quality, see also a volleyed shot against Manchester City that crashed against the bar. But they were too sparse and insignificant to be considered.

My good friend asked me earlier in the season what the wisdom was in letting Tielemans captain the side when he was refusing to sign a new contract. Initially, I praised Youri’s professionalism, but my friend had a point, whether he knew it or not, Tielemans head wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this season and it has cost the Foxes dearly.