Enzo Maresca: Who Is The Italian Mastermind Behind Leicester's Record-Breaking Championship Start?

Published on 28 October 2023 at 13:00

With 12 wins and 36 points from their first 13 league games, Enzo Maresca's Leicester City have officially recorded the best start to a Championship season by any side in the competition's history! Looking to immediately bounce back from relegation and back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, how has the work of Maresca inspired the Foxes to truly become feared again?


A student of the Italian coaching school Coverciano, which helped forge the likes of Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti into being the successful coaches they are today, the Leicester job is actually only Maresca's second senior role within management. Besides serving as an assistant at Ascoli, Sevilla and West Ham, his first 'proper' managerial role came at Parma. Unfortunately, he couldn't guide the former Serie A stalwarts and UEFA Cup winners into the promotion spots quick enough, and was dismissed after only a few months into the job.


Just prior to the Parma role, Maresca was cherry picked as an assistant to Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side. Put in charge of the 'Elite Development Squad' coming through the ranks at the Etihad, including Romeo Lavia and Cole Palmer, Maresca was entrusted with leading the young Cityzens to Premier League 2 glory, a feat achieved with flying colours. 


Returning from Italy, and clearly capable of delivering with Manchester City, Maresca soon became a part of Guardiola's assistant managers, right as the club was on the verge of history. In the 2022/23 season, City would go onto scoop the continental treble, making Maresca a managerial target across Europe due to his prior experience and close connection with the esteemed Guardiola. 


Leicester were the team to secure Maresca's managerial services, after Brendan Rodgers and Dean Smith's tenures last season left the club in dire straits on the pitch. With James Maddison and Harvey Barnes making the move to Spurs and Newcastle in the Summer, arguably still missing Kasper Schmeichel in between the sticks, and in a financially precarious situation, it would be imperative for Maresca to improve on his struggles at Parma and see this once great club return to the top flight at the first time of asking, or face a mass talent exodus and potentially years of struggling in the Championship with a paper thin squad and shoestring budget. 


And now, just over a quarter of the way into the season, Maresca seems to have done exactly what Leicester fans will have been dreaming of, and have the former Premier League champions playing exciting, dominant football once again. Stephy Mavididi and Harry Winks in particular have been two of the signings of the Summer: and whilst many maybe quick to deride this Leicester team's form is down to their squad of recently-relegated Premier League players, the contrast in quality, performance and morale between Dean Smith's side and Maresca's men has never looked more obvious.


Even accounting for the solitary loss against Hull at the beginning of September, Maresca's Leicester are on track to smash all sorts of team records in the Championship in its current era. Whilst individual goalscoring records like Aleksandr Mitrovic's Fulham exploits, breaking the 100 point barrier is surely the target at the moment for Maresca and co, particularly considering how far ahead Leicester and Ipswich are of the rest of the Championship pack.


Reading and Sunderland amassed 106 and 105 points respectively in the 2000s, with the clear Guardiola influence and boasting one of the best performing squads the division's ever seen, do you think Leicester under Enzo Maresca will surpass either of those great sides?


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on Instagram and X/Twitter

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