[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith Leicester City within seven games of a momentous Premier League title victory, a host of Foxes players are being hailed for their performances this season.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’s pace on the counter attack and penetration in the final third have clearly been essential factors in the King Power Stadium outfit’s amazing season.
N’Golo Kanté’s arrival and central midfield pairing with the under-rated Danny Drinkwater has also been eye-catching, while ageing stalwarts Robert Huth and Wes Morgan have been the backbone of the Leicester side at centre-half.
However, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel should not be overlooked in his role in the team’s success.
The 29-year-old has had a level of expectation placed on his shoulders from the moment he turned professional given the status of legendary father Peter.
The giant Dane is viewed in legendary status by Manchester United fans, with Schmeichel senior winning five Premier League titles and a famous Champions League crown in his time at Old Trafford.
Kasper was always going to face an uphill battle in replicating the unbelievable exploits of his father, who rightly is viewed as one of the best goalkeepers to have played in English football in the modern era.
Schmeichel junior started out across Manchester at City, but despite his famous name was not afforded a chance to excel at Eastlands.
A move into the Football League was necessary to give the Copenhagen-born stopper regular first-team football, with the slightly underwhelming surrounds of Notts County the origin of his progression.
Working under fellow Scandinavian Sven-Göran Eriksson, Schmeichel was given an opportunity to prove himself.
A move to Leeds United followed, before the Swede plunged to bring the Dane to Leicester in 2011.
Although Eriksson has long since departed the King Power Stadium club, Schmeichel has stayed and played a sizeable role in helping the outfit return to the top flight.
Over the last two seasons, Schmeichel has thrived in the Premier League and has played all 31 of his side’s games this term so far.
At 29, the stopper looks to have matured and is in the best form of his career to date – there is no doubt that he is more than able at the top level.
Schmeichel’s command of his backline has been key in a miserly Leicester defensive effort, while his one-off shot-stopping abilities have won the league leaders a fair share of points.
Given his consistent performances, Steve Walsh named the Foxes custodian as the English top flight’s best goalkeeper recently and there is certainly an argument to suggest that he is one of the better players in his position in the Premier League.
Rumours have started linking the Scandinavian with a move to Liverpool and a number of other ‘superior’ English sides, while his profile, reputation and status have certainly been enhanced over the last 12 months.
Winning the Premier League with Leicester, should it happen, should be looked upon as admirable and prestigious an accolade as any of United’s triumphs with Schmeichel senior between the sticks.
At international level, Peter made a whopping 129 appearances for his nation – the most of any of his countrymen in history.
Kasper only made his national debut in 2013 but will be critical in Denmark returning to former glories.
When Schmeichel junior’s career ends, it is likely that his achievements will be dwarfed by that of his father.
However, looking at the Dane’s achievements and ability without taking his dad into account, Schmeichel junior deserves a lot of credit for his role in Leicester’s incredible success.
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