Riyad Mahrez has been welcomed back with open arms at Leicester City – again – after his self-imposed leave following a failed move to Manchester City in January.
The 26-year-old was absent for 10 days in early February, before returning to make an appearance in the blowout loss to Manchester City this past weekend.
“Sometimes some players can make a mistake,” said manager Claude Puel on Sunday, according to the Leicester Mercury. “It was the first time for him and it was a mistake but the most important thing is to look forward and put it right. He is fantastic player for us, his team-mates and the fans. It is a pleasure to watch him. It is important we continue together.”
It may have been the first time Mahrez flat out left the club in protest, but it’s not the first time he’s tried to force a move away from the King Power Stadium. Back in the summer, Mahrez looked to push himself away from the Foxes with Arsenal and Roma pursuing a transfer, but nothing came of it.
After his absence in recent weeks, Mahrez released a statement claiming “Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts,” but Puel’s words seem to indirectly dispute that, with the manager referring to Mahrez’s departure as a “mistake.”
Leicester City has an FA Cup match against Sheffield United at home on Friday, while they return to Premier League action against Stoke City the following weekend. Mahrez would likely return to action in one of those games barring injury in training.