To see Nampalys “Papy” Mendy in the line-up against Wolves was a real surprise and he turned up like a real Jack in the Box. And how he turned up, being to our knowledge the best player on the field.
“Papy” had not been part of an official Leicester City team since January 2017. He has since then struggled with injuries and been on loan all last season at Nice. But, Claude Puel has not managed to find the ideal partner for Wilfred Ndidi and played Vicente Iborra, Andy King, Adrien Silva, Matty James and Hamza Choudhury in the role.
The previous Leicester City “engine room” is now at Chelsea, with both N’Golo Kantè and Danny Drinkwater moving down to Stamford Bridge in the last two seasons. Mendy was when signed by Claudio Ranieri seen as a contender and not a replacement for Kantè, but it never turned out that way, maybe until now.
He played in the pre-season against Notts County, and was part of the group that played the games in Austria but after that overlooked for the pre-season friendlies against Valencia and Lille. He was not in the squad for the Premier League opener v. Manchester United.
Claude Puel is a manager known for his thorough approach, clinical planning and introducing players who are predicted to be part of a future at Leicester City, but with “Papy” he surprised us all, and what a perfect timing for a player that really made the most of his chance.
After watching Nampalys Mendy at both Monaco and Nice, once being named “The carbon copy of Claude Makelele”, you know that he is a talented player, one who could go all the way, and he has played week in and week out for Claude Puel before. Puel was in charge at Nice and signed “Papy” from Monaco. So this story is one strange, but hopefully the two former “partners” could help each other in the struggle to steady the Leicester City ship.
The problem for Mendy is that he has had a habit of bringing a number of injuries on board and so far struggled to get things on the right path, but we certainly hope that the player, who just yesterday was linked with a loan move to Leeds, will keep up this type of performances, then maybe Puel can be even more optemistic.
But this was one of the most unpredictable inclusions in a Leicester City team ever, because it came all out of the blue, but looking at this afterwards it makes a lot of sense. Great to see such a fantastic performance “Papy” Mendy.