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he was told that Leicester City had made 10 changes to face Peterborough. Over to you

Time:2018-01-31 07:04Shoes websites Click:

UEFA Champions League FA Cup Leicester City FC Paul Merson

Here are our five Leicester City talking points from Leicester City's FA Cup win over Peterborough...

1. Perhaps we should give Paul Merson the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just didn’t know. Maybe, he had been sat in the Soccer Saturday studio, mid-banter, when suddenly, through his earpiece, he was told that Leicester City had made 10 changes to face Peterborough.

Over to you, Paul. What’s your reaction?

“It’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute joke.”

Oh, how he must have kicked himself not to have read the teamsheet first.

Let’s talk about this “disgraceful” team selection.

Those 10 changes included two of the title-winning full-backs: Danny Simpson, the club’s first-choice right-back, who just so happened to be returning from injury, and Christian Fuchs who, until only a few weeks ago was the preferred first-team left-back. They have 283 Premier League appearances between them.

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Then there’s Vicente Iborra and Adrien Silva. One was captain of a club that won three consecutive Europa Leagues while the other led his country to a European Championship. One has been a first-team regular this season, the other would have been were it not for some controversial paperwork.

That leaves Demarai Gray, an England U21 international and regular starter; Yohan Benalouane, who has Champions League quarter-final experience; Fousseni Diabate, a debutante; Harvey Barnes, an England U20 international who has 11 goals and five assists in 44 appearances in League One and the Championship; Ben Hamer, the No.2 to Kasper Schmeichel; and Kelechi Iheanacho, the £25m signing from Man City, who had scored twice in the previous round.

The one bloke who did keep his place, Harry Maguire, is an England international.

Hardly a bunch of stiffs. Hardly a joke. Hardly a disgrace.

Kelechi Iheanacho is congratulated (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Kelechi Iheanacho is congratulated (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images) City now have strength in depth

2. Up until now, there has been an almost subconscious assumption that Puel must choose between winning the FA Cup or securing seventh in the Premier League.

Why is that?

What the performance of the much-changed side at Peterborough showed was that City now have the depth of squad to target success in both competitions.

Leicester are no longer a club with only a bunch of match-winners. They have a squad that can compete on multiple fronts, helped by some astute manipulation by Puel.

That will also bode well if/when they qualify for Europe, by whichever route necessary.

Riyad Mahrez on the bench at ABAX Stadium (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez on the bench at ABAX Stadium (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images) Diabate and Mahrez's future

3. If Merson’s ramblings were not enough, Leicester fans had to endure yet more suspect punditry when they tuned into Match of the Day.

This time, it was Danny Murphy. There’s a surprise.

In his analysis of Fousseni Diabate’s impressive debut, Murphy piped up: “This says to me that Mahrez could be on his way. I’m sorry to say that.”

We doubt you are, Danny, considering you have spent the last year telling everyone that Mahrez is too good for Leicester.

Regardless, why should Diabate’s performance have any bearing on Mahrez’s future? Had Diabate had a stinker, would Murphy have allayed concerns by saying “well, this new lad’s not all that, but at least it shows that Mahrez is staying”? Of course not.

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Even former City striker turned daytime TV property flogger Dion Dublin got swept up in Murphy’s rampage. “Big shoes to fill,” he added.

Presenter Gabby Logan too. “If they can get £40-£50m for Mahrez…”

What?!

Diabate has been bought for the future. He may well replace Mahrez eventually, but not now. There’s a couple of days left in the transfer window and Mahrez will more than likely be spending Deadline Day, not in a European airport, but on the pitch at Goodison Park.

Fousseni Diabate celebrates after scoring (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Fousseni Diabate celebrates after scoring (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images) A debut to remember

4. As debuts go, Diabate’s was one to remember.

There’s always going to be tinges of excitement when Leicester sign a player no-one has ever heard of from Ligue 2, following the legacies of Anthony Knockaert and Riyad Mahrez.

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