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Souttar no certainty to leave Leicester now: Arnold

3 minute read

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold says manager Enzo Maresca leaving Leicester City for Chelsea has left Harry Souttar with a fresh conundrum on his club future.

GRAHAM ARNOLD.
GRAHAM ARNOLD. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

A managerial change at Leicester City could open the door for defender Harry Souttar to remain at the newly-promoted Premier League club, says Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.

Souttar was weighed down by a lack of club minutes - just 188 across four appearances last season - at the Foxes after being frozen out under Enzo Maresca, who joined Chelsea this week.

He attempted to leave without success in January and still didn't play in the back half of Leicester's successful promotion campaign from the English Championship.

Throughout that time, Arnold has consistently picked Souttar, a defensive general and potential future captain, in his starting sides - while warning he needs to start winning game time at club level.

A move away from Leicester at season's end was on the cards for Souttar, contracted until the end of the 2027-2028 season, if Maresca stayed.

But Arnold admitted the managerial change had likely thrown a spanner in the works for Souttar's future.

The 25-year-old could yet leave, or attempt to impress a new manager.

"I've had a good chat with him already," Arnold said ahead of Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

"It probably wasn't (sic) maybe not the best thing for him because if the manager had stayed, probably it was clearer what his decision could have been. But with a new manager coming in, it could be completely different.

"Once again, Harry's here, obviously, he's looking great and (hopefully) puts in great performance tomorrow or next Tuesday (against Palestine) and keeps promoting himself.

"But as I said to him, once he gets back to the UK after this camp, he really has to sort out his club career because it's been, after his ACL injury and this year, two big years out of football he's hardly played.

"And it's a very important time in his playing career around your mid-20s that you learn and you mature and you get stronger and it gets you through into the 30s. So it's an important year coming up for Harry."

Arnold has his own welcome headache on Souttar: deciding which of his four centre-backs to field.

Cameron Burgess is also Premier League-bound with Ipswich Town, Alessandro Circati recently sealed Serie A promotion with Parma, while Hearts defender Kye Rowles has been a stalwart.

"We can obviously further down the track look at changing the system a little bit to get them on the pitch, but for these two games, all four will start at some stage over the two games," Arnold said.

"So two and two (in each game) and I'm looking forward to seeing how they go."

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