Andy King is back better than ever, says Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson
Leicester City midfielder Andy King has returned from injury in better shape than before, says manager Nigel Pearson.
King missed a big chunk of last season with a heel injury that he had been nursing for a while, but Pearson said the Wales international had worked hard on his game and his fitness and was now getting back to his best.
King's 10th-minute strike against Brighton on Tuesday night was his third league goal of the campaign and fourth of the season, and Pearson said the fierce competition for places had kept the players on their toes.
"I think last season was the only time he has not hit double figures for the about four or five years," said Pearson.
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"It was the first time he had picked up what could be seen as a relatively serious injury. I think he has come back energised after a lengthy spell out with injury and he is enjoying his football.
"We have some good competition in the middle of the park. Matty James has done very well for us in the games he played and he will certainly play his part this season. He is a really good player.
"I think the players who are currently in the team know that they must maintain the levels they have hit so far to retain their place because, when you have players who are constantly knocking on the door, I think that is good for the players and the group. We have good competition."
Pearson was also full of praise for goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who made a vital penalty save to deny Ashley Barnes an equaliser in the second half.
"Kasper last season was one of our best performers," said Pearson. "He won us a lot of points.
"You don't want your goalkeeper starring every week, but I think it is important for your goalkeeper and back four to be consistent and have a presence about them.
"He has performed consistently well for us. I am very pleased with how he has embraced the challenge. He wants to be a success and we want him to be a success here."
City will check on the condition of defender Ritchie De Laet and striker David Nugent ahead of Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace after both were withdrawn with injuries on Tuesday night.
"Ritchie came off with a tight chest," said Pearson. "He will be assessed but hopefully he will be okay.
"Nugent got a knock on his Achilles and we had Jamie Vardy on the bench, so we thought it was prudent to take him off at that point.
"There is no point running a player into the ground."