Why new Leicester boss Enzo Maresca was the right choice

Leicester City fans look on as pyrotechnics are set off (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Leicester City fans look on as pyrotechnics are set off (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) /

Two weeks after being relegated to the EFL Championship Leicester City have appointed their permanent First Team Manager. Enzo Maresca joins the Foxes on a contract lasting until 2026 and will start a new era at Leicester City.

The Italian started his coaching career with Ascoli in 2017 and went on to become an assistant coach at West Ham United under Manuel Pellegrini. He was then appointed as the Manchester City development team’s head coach in 2020 and lead them to a Premier League 2 title, before returning to Italy to take up the managerial role at Palma in 2021. Maresca returned to City in 2022 to join Pep Guardiola’s staff as a first team coach. The 43-year-old most recently worked alongside Guardiola to help Manchester City to a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.

Why Leicester City needed a fresh approach

After Dean Smith failed to keep Leicester in the top-flight of English football it was clear that a change was needed, someone new with fresh ideas. Most fans weren’t impressed with the rumoured replacements. Although Scott Parker brought Bournemouth and Fulham back to the Premier League within one season, Leicester needed a long-term replacement. Caretaker manager Dean Smith was another candidate reportedly on the list. It’s hard to say if that would be a good or bad appointment, City certainly needed change so for Smith to takeover would almost be a step in the wrong direction. The appointment of Enzo Maresca was one that is the right choice and a very exciting one.

The Italian’s appointment was a brave yet exciting one as it shows the club are willing to take a risk on the former midfielder. It could go one of two ways, he either gets us promoted to the Premier League or we end up bottom-half of the table, there’s no in-between.

After hearing his first interview, many fans have felt impressed with his attitude and approach.

When talking to LCFC.com Maresca said:

"“The players that stay with us from last year, they need to change their mentality. The players that we brought in, they need to understand that Leicester is a demanding club.”“The reality in this moment says that we are a Championship club, so we need to have all the players with the same mentality thinking that we are in the Championship.”"

The former Verona player is spot on. Could this be a dig at the attitude that was missing around Seagrave this season?

As long as he gets the backing from the board we have every faith in him, just remember what happened last time an Italian was the manager.

Enzo Maresca’s playing style

The former midfielder offers a similar outlook to the Manchester City boss with his emphasis in developing the youth side in a way he would want them to play in a senior side. With the likes of Will Alves and Sammy Braybrooke in Leicester’s youth squad it seems this could be their time to shine and impress the new boss.

Whilst in charge of the Manchester City development side, Maresca was known for his attacking play with his side scoring 79 goals in 24 games. They adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation, but would switch to a 4-3-3 when they were attacking.

Pep Guardiola and Man City link

Maresca’s link to his former club could become quite valuable to Leicester. The Sky Blues could supply the Foxes with young players to fill out their squad. Some notable names include:

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  • Cole Palmer, who is set to be loaned out this summer. It looks more likely that he will go to a top-flight club in England or Germany, but having played under Maresca for Manchester City U23s could this entice him to the King Power Stadium? He’s a skilful attacker that can play in a No.10 role or out on the wing, the 21-year-old had 19 goal contributions in 16 games under the Italian manager.
  • Carlos Borges. The Portuguese teenager found the net 29 times in 33 games across various youth competitions this season. He’s quick and always looking to break through the back-line. With Tete and Ayoze Perez leaving and Harvey Barnes heading for an exit from the East Midlands club, Borges could be a good option on the left.
  • Oscar Bobb. The Norwegian youth international noted 18 assists, he has good close ball control and could be a replacement for James Maddison in midfield.
  • Jaden Heskey, the son of Emile Heskey. He is only 17-years-old and not played many games for the ‘Man City’ U23s, so might not be ready for a move just yet. It would be a beautiful move for Leicester to keep their eye on and restore the Heskey name to lead the Foxes line once again.