Okazaki Striker rings Leicester's bell, says Ranieri

Okazaki celebrated his first start since September 10 by scoring the second goal in a 3-1 defeat of Crystal Palace

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Leicester City's Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki celebrates after scoring his and Leicester's second goal during the English League Cup third round game against Chelsea in Leicester, central England on September 20, 2016 play

Leicester City's Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki celebrates after scoring his and Leicester's second goal during the English League Cup third round game against Chelsea in Leicester, central England on September 20, 2016

(AFP/File)
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Leicester City's Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki is the player who gives the team a lift in times of need, manager Claudio Ranieri said on Thursday.

The Premier League champions ended a three-game winless run last weekend by beating Crystal Palace 3-1 and Okazaki celebrated his first start since September 10 by scoring the second goal.

The hard-working forward, 30, helped set the tempo for Leicester's display and Ranieri used his famous rallying cry from last season's 5,000-1 title triumph to highlight Okazaki's importance.

"He is a hard worker. Sometimes he's not so close to goal, but when the ball is around the box Shinji is always there," said Ranieri, whose side visit Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

"He is important for the team because he presses a lot. He is our 'dilly ding, dilly dong'. He wakes up our players -- he has the bell!"

While Okazaki's goal against Palace was his first of the campaign, his overall display illustrated his worth to Ranieri's side.

The Japan international covered 11.66 kilometres (7.25 miles) during the game -- more than a kilometre more than fellow strikers Jamie Vardy and Islam Slimani in any game this season.

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