Enzo Maresca keeps Will Alves close as Leicester City’s big decision draws in

On the same night Leicester City were promoted to the Premier League, the under-21s earned perhaps their best win of the season.

As attention naturally focused on events at Loftus Road and how Leeds would fare at QPR, the development side’s 3-1 success at West Ham was somewhat overlooked. But it was a very good way for them to end their campaign.

It was already confirmed that City would finish outside the top 16 and therefore miss out on the play-offs in the new Premier League 2 format, so there wasn’t much time in the game. But against the Hammers, in second place and having lost just three of their previous 19 games, City claimed victory.

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Take a closer look at the team sheets and maybe it makes sense. City had Ben Nelson and Wanya Marcal in the squad, the pair promoted to the first team this season and also had Will Alves and Sammy Braybrooke in the squad.

The latter pair, two of the club’s most promising talents, have been out for most of the season as they recover from ACL tears suffered the previous winter. Alves made a quicker recovery but suffered muscle injuries here and there to prevent him from putting together a string of games. Braybrooke took longer to return but managed to finish the campaign with a consistent run of games.

In total, there have only been three games where both Alves and Braybrooke have been on the pitch at the same time. The first was against Manchester City and Leicester drew 1-1 when Alves came off at half-time. In the end they lost 3-1. Then there were the last two games, a 3-0 win over Stoke before the win at West Ham.

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