Leicester striker Jamie Vardy rubbishes stories he was involved in Claudio Ranieri sacking
By Dev Trehan and Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 27/02/17 11:00am
Jamie Vardy has hit back at suggestions he was responsible for the downfall of former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri.
Caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare, in charge for the Monday Night Football clash with Liverpool, has denied players were involved and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel told Sky Sports that the team were not consulted over Ranieri's future.
Schmeichel was the first player to pay tribute to the departed Italian on Friday night, with skipper Wes Morgan and Riyad Mahrez following suit on Saturday, while Vardy took to Instagram to angrily insist he was blameless.
The striker said: "I must have written and deleted my words to this post a stupid amount of times! I owed Claudio to find the right and appropriate words!
"Claudio has and always will have my complete respect! What we achieved together and as a team was the impossible! He believed in me when many didn't and for that I owe him my eternal gratitude.
"There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!
"The only thing we are guilty of as a team is underachieving which we all acknowledge both in the dressing room and publicly and will do our best to rectify. I wish Claudio the very very best in whatever the future holds for him. Thank You Claudio for everything."
It has proved to be a miserable title defence and with results going against them at the weekend, the Foxes have plummeted into the relegation zone having lost their last five Premier League games.
Ranieri released an emotional statement saying his "dream has died" and he was back at the training ground for the last time on Saturday to say his final goodbyes to former players and staff.
Defender Morgan tweeted: "Would just like to say a big thank you to Claudio for what was achieved at Leicester and becoming Premier League champions and competing in the Champions League.
"This is something I'd never thought was possible and it happened. It was a pleasure to be your captain and I wish you all the best in the future."
Mahrez - winner of last season's PFA Players' of the Year accolade - added: "Big respect to this great man who helped us achieve history.
"You helped me build myself as a player and gave me the courage I needed. You believed in me from day one. Huge thank you for everything and good luck. God bless."