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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez returns to training, ending transfer standoff

Riyad Mahrez was seen taking part in a full training session less than 24 hours after manager Claude Puel appealed to him to "get his head right" and return.

By: Reuters | Updated: February 9, 2018 9:34:18 pm
Claude Puel indicated Riyad Mahrez would not be available to face City. (Source: AP)

Riyad Mahrez ended a 10-day standoff with Leicester City on Friday by training with his team mates ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at Manchester City.

The Algerian boarded the team coach en route to Manchester despite manager Claude Puel saying on Thursday that the Algerian would definitely miss the game against the Premier League leaders.

British media reported that Mahrez was “depressed” after Leicester rejected Manchester City’s deadline day bid to sign him.

The 26 year-old, who has two-and-a-half years remaining on his 100,000 pound ($138,000) a week contract, missed two games and six training sessions in apparent protest and had not been seen at the club since last month.

But after Puel appealed for his player “to get his head right and come back with us and work hard”, Mahrez arrived at Leicester’s training-ground on Friday morning.

He trained with his team mates, apparently with no problems despite media reports that some resented the way he had attempted to force a move away from Leicester.

It was unclear if Mahrez was granted permission to be away from the club – or whether he has been fined for going missing – but he appears to have been reintegrated in the way Puel hoped.

“Riyad is a magnificent player. He loves football, he loves his relationship with his team-mates, he enjoys his football. I think he needs to come back, to play and touch the ball,” Puel said on Thursday. “It is important he comes back.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, whose bid instigated the standoff last month, said on Friday he “hopes” Mahrez faces City on Saturday.

“I hope he comes back soon to play football. We enjoy watching him.”

There was no confirmation from Leicester whether Mahrez will be included in the 18-man match-day squad.

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