Shakespeare waxes lyrical over versatile Iborra

Soccer Football - Carabao Cup Third Round - Leicester City vs Liverpool - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - September 19, 2017 Leicester City's Vicente Iborra in action with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Vicente Iborra is adjusting to the intensity of English soccer but the midfielder must be prepared to play in different positions to further understand Leicester City’s style, manager Craig Shakespeare has said.

The versatile 29-year-old signed from La Liga side Sevilla in the close season but a groin injury has delayed his Premier League debut.

Iborra did complete his first full 90 minutes in the 2-0 League Cup win over Liverpool last week and Shakespeare said he was impressed with the player’s progress.

“He is slowly getting used to the game over here. He has got sharper in training and is moving the ball quicker. We have encouraged that,” Shakespeare told the Leicester Mercury.

“I think the intensity has taken him by surprise. He is very much a team player in the mould of (Japanese forward) Shinji Okazaki. He is willing to adapt.”

The Spaniard, who can play in a holding role or an advanced position, was a vital part of Sevilla’s three-man midfield and Shakespeare said Iborra would have to adjust to playing with just one central midfield partner.

“We have had regular chats with him about that. You can draw on your experience because he hasn’t just played as a number six, which is like a deep midfield player, he has also played as a number 10 in behind,” Shakespeare said.

“It is interesting when we have the conversations about why he was used like that. He is very aware tactically. That game (against Liverpool) will have been great for him in terms of getting him up to speed.”

Leicester, who are 17th in the league table, travel to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien