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Smith backs Leicester to become Premier League 'force'

Former Leicester City striker Alan Smith says Claudio Ranieri's champions can become "an established Premier League force".

Leicester were crowned champions after nearest rivals Tottenham drew 2-2 at Chelsea on Monday, sparking wild celebrations among the title-winning players, who had congregated at top scorer Jamie Vardy's house.

The Foxes were a well-publicised 5000/1 shot to win the league before the season, having salvaged a top-flight place with a late surge in 2014-15.

Smith made more than 200 appearances for Leicester at the start of his career before going on to win the First Division with Arsenal, and he believes the likes of Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante could be champions once more if they build on the foundations laid in this memorable season.

"I don't know whether they're going to be challenging at the top again," Smith told Omnisport.

"It almost feels like that perfect storm where everything came together over the course of one season - very few injuries, which doesn't happen often, element of good fortune in that and good from the sport scientists.

"Their main aim is to become an established Premier League force that can finish in the top six, seven. After that you try and win the league again."

Smith also pointed to the work done by Nigel Pearson, who oversaw the run of seven wins in nine games that rescued Leicester last season.

"It's so difficult to put your finger on it. Obviously the new manager, Ranieri, has done brilliant," the former England international added.

"Nigel Pearson built that team. N'Golo Kante came into it, that was the only real difference. 

"But it's just been a series of circumstances. All these players acclimatised to the Premier League in that first year and then hit top form all together this season, which doesn't happen often - they all get 9 out of 10 most matches

"Their team spirit that's been an important factor, a real tight-knit bunch that socialise off the pitch, bit old school in that respect. It's gathered momentum and snowballed to the point we are now, history made."