World Cup Watch: Leicester can’t ignore former Everton stalwart
For newly promoted Premier League sides, the World Cup shines a light on experienced performers that would boost their top-flight survival bid that wouldn’t normally be on their radar.
Luckily for Nigel Pearson’s Leicester, we’ve picked out three World Cup-bound players they should keep tabs on before a ball’s even been kicked in Rio:
Joseph Yobo – Nigeria – Defender
At 33, Yobo doesn’t have long left in his playing career, but a second-half-of-the-season loan from Fenerbahce to Norwich showed he’s still a dependable performer in the top flight.
The former Everton man played eight times for the relegated Canaries but still ranked second on Whoscored.com’s player rating system for the season.
Part of Nigeria’s 30-man provisional squad, who are 11/4 to be knocked out in the second round in Brazil, Yobo could win his 100th international cap at the tournament if the Super Eagles exceed those expectations.
Jean Makoun – Cameroon – Midfielder
A dominant central midfielder, who can help the inexperienced pairing of Danny Drinkwater and Matt James establish a foothold in games, is sure to be near the top of Pearson’s shopping list.
A man with a wealth of European and international experience, 30-year-old Makoun fits the bill perfectly and has unfinished business in the Premier League having made just nine appearances at Aston Villa before being frozen out.
Islam Slimani – Algeria – Striker
Dave Nugent will no doubt be leading the Foxes’ forward line when the Premier League kicks off, but will certainly need a helping hand getting the goals that will keep them in the division.
Algerian Golden Ball winner Slimani, 25, racked up an impressive scoring rate in his homeland before landing a move to Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon last summer.
Despite only being afforded 10 starts in the league, with a further 16 appearances coming from the bench, the 4/1 shot to be Algeria’s top scorer in Brazil netted eight times including the winner against Porto.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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