Kasper follows dad’s footsteps
LONDON. — Everybody wants Leicester City to win the English Premier League soccer title, right? Well, apart from Tottenham supporters, whose club is the only one left which can realistically challenge for supremacy.
Liverpool fans might secretly be hoping for a late collapse too. Because should Leicester finish the season in the position they are in now, it will mean that two different members of the Schmeichel family have lifted the top flight title since Anfield last held the prize back in 1990.
Kasper Schmeichel became his own man a long time ago, growing understandably tired of forced comparisons to his dad Peter. But it is impossible to escape the romance imbued in father and son each leading their team to England’s top trophy.
Peter was a huge presence in Manchester United’s dressing room during the 1990s, winning five Premier League crowns and a place as one of Europe’s most feared goalkeepers.
Kasper is just as vital to Leicester even though his contributions to their run have perhaps gone a little under the radar, such has been the focus on others in the team.
As well as stopping shots he had no right to this season, he is a vocal figure between the sticks, with team-mates and referees on the receiving end.
John Terry picked Schmeichel in his PFA Team of the Year and another clean sheet at Sunderland only enhanced his chances of making it into the overall best XI; a smart save from Fabio Borini’s deflected hit proving important.
He has helped ensure 11 shut-outs in the last 15 games, a remarkable ratio that has provided the platform for this most incredible title charge.
Finishing the job would complete his circuitous route to the top, having first played English Premier League football as a 20-year-old in August 2007 under Sven Goran Eriksson at Manchester City.
He kept four clean sheets in seven games, including in a derby victory over United, before losing his place to Joe Hart after a 3-3 draw with Fulham.
He was loaned to Cardiff in the Championship, recalled when Andreas Isaksson requested a transfer, only to finish the season at Coventry.
He was back at Eastlands for 2008-09 but played just three times under Mark Hughes, against Brighton in the League Cup, Hull in the Premier League, and Racing Club in the UEFA Cup.
Determined to play regularly, he took the bold decision to permanently join Notts County in League Two, reuniting with Eriksson who was director of football.
Familiar with the division from loan spells at Darlington and Bury – he also had a period at Falkirk in the Scottish Premier League – the ambitious project spelled out by owners Munto also appealed.
But within months the sham of their finances emerged and, according to Schmeichel, the club stopped travelling by plane and could barely afford a bus.
His wages were reportedly £15 000 per week, and to his credit Schmeichel agreed to cancel the remaining four years on his contract in May 2010 so the club would not be crippled, moving to Leeds United on a free transfer that summer.
There was a man of the match display in holding Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup but curiously the club opted to sell him after only one year, despite Schmeichel’s inclination to stay.
Eriksson, now manager of Leicester, came calling again, paying £1million for his services. Schmeichel is the only player bought in that period still at the club, with Nigel Pearson clearing out much of what he inherited in November 2011. Schmeichel stayed because of his quality and positive influence, and he is enjoying the best season of his career aged 29. He was magnificent against City at the King Power Stadium, and has a knack of pulling off at least one stellar save per game.
Against Southampton, for example, he tipped over Jose Fonte’s stunning drive.
Criticisms previously in his career have centred on a reluctance to come out for crosses but he has improved that part of his game, while it is tough to recall a single mistake from this season, certainly not one that has resulted in a goal.
The 5-2 reverse at home to Arsenal is the only occasion where more than two goals have been conceded in a game, after which point Claudio Ranieri swapped his full-back players to more defensive options. — Mailonline.