Riyad Mahrez ends exile, returns to training

Joe Prince-Wright
NBC Sports

Riyad Mahrez has returned to training with Leicester City and has reportedly made himself available to play against Manchester City on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Mahrez, 26, has missed Leicester’s last two Premier League games after Man City failed with a massive bid of close to $90 million on transfer deadline day on Jan. 31.

He also failed to attend training and has been away from the club with other players reportedly upset with his behavior.

The Algerian winger was said to be struggling to come to terms with the move breaking down with Leicester rejecting the bid, as Mahrez has now wanted to leave in each of the last four transfer windows and handing in a transfer request in each of the last two windows.

His manager at Leicester, Claude Puel, told the media on Thursday that Mahrez would not be available to play against Man City, the Premier League leaders who launched the late January bid to sign him, and the Frenchman also refused to confirm where Mahrez was or if he’d spoken to the players.

Puel also said that he hoped Mahrez “comes back and works hard, but he will need time. And time to be match fit.” But now Mahrez is back in full training, will he play a part on Saturday?

His form this season has been reminiscent of his displays during Leicester’s title-winning season in 2015-16, especially since Puel arrived as manager. Mahrez has eight goals and seven assists in 24 PL appearances this season as the Foxes battle for seventh place and a possible return to European action.

Leicester could certainly use his help against Man City but unleashing Mahrez after he had skipped training will no doubt leave Puel open for criticism and it’s highly unlikely he will play any part at the Etihad Stadium.

Mahrez has plenty of bridges to rebuild at Leicester between now and when he hopes to get his move to Man City, or elsewhere, in the summer.

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