Dean Smith has said the Leicester City players who could leave this summer will want to go out on a high by helping the club survive in the Premier League but it is not something he is using as motivation ahead of the final day clash with West Ham.
City have one last chance to rescue their top flight status on Sunday when David Moyes’ side visit the King Power Stadium maybe with one eye on their Europa Conference League final 10 days later. Smith’s men have to pick up three points and hope that Everton drop points as they take on Bournemouth at Goodison Park.
Even if Leicester do stay up, or go down, the game at the King Power Stadium could be the final one in a City shirt for a number of members of the squad. The likes of Youri Tielemans, Jonny Evans and Nampalys Mendy are among those out of contract in the summer, with the former expected to leave the club on a free transfer, while there is still uncertainty over if the other two will extend their stay.
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Caglar Soyuncu is another who is expected to leave at the end of his contract but he has been ruled out of the game with injury.
Other players such as James Maddison, who is expected to leave no matter what division City are in, and Harvey Barnes, have been linked with moves away when the transfer window opens.
Smith has said that he hasn’t used the uncertainty over their future as an extra motivation to go out on a high, but it could be something that the players themselves use.
“Not really,” he said when asked if he’s spoken to the players who could play their final game. “As I’ve said before, I’ve read about which players might be out of contract. I haven’t asked the question.
“They’ll know, the ones who have been here a long time and whose contracts are running out, that they want to leave on a high, if they are to leave.
"Leave a good legacy, which has been an FA Cup win and Community Shield win over the last couple of years. They know how important it is to them so they don’t need me to keep going on to them.”
One thing that could be important in the game against West Ham is the experience of different situations, something that City do have within their squad, with Jamie Vardy among those. It’s something that Smith will look to use during the afternoon.
“You can lean on players for their experience and Vards has got that experience but we are a team full of internationals and they have got experiences already and they have to use those to the best of their ability.”
He also pointed to how a rare clean sheet achieved in their last outing could provide confidence going into Sunday’s match.
He added: “A lot of the players have played in high-profile games before so they know what it’s about and what they have to do. The defiance showed at St James’ Park on Monday certainly gives everyone a boost and the fact we kept our first clean sheet in 22 games helps as well.”
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