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  1. 103 points
  2. 101 points
  3. 87 points
    How awful, I hope he recovered from the horrific experience. Hope he got over coronavirus too.
  4. 85 points
    Not bothered about us being in a European Competition? Fvck me, what's the point in even playing football with that attitude.
  5. 82 points
    Back by popular demand, it's time for some Tactical breakdowns, and today I'm looking at the subject of a system we used throughout the game against Aston Villa away, the 442 Diamond. This formation has also been used in a few other games; Sheffield United away and Tottenham at home after 60 minutes, who at the time also played a diamond system. It's a system that is very familiar to Brendan Rodgers who used the system at Liverpool, with his team that almost won the league. So as a bit of background, let's look at that team quickly: Rodgers 442 Diamond at Liverpool This was the team that came oh so close to breaking Liverpool's Premier League duck in the 13/14 season. This squad and even first team lineup for me was fairly uneven in that they had truly world class players in some positions (Coutinho and Suarez), but some quite awful players in others like Mignolet and Flanagan. However, in what is fast becoming a Brendan Rodgers hallmark, the team played above and beyond their capabilities that season because of the system they used. Broadly speaking the team played a high pressing style that was fairly narrow, with width provided by their full backs. The system used two mobile centre forwards in Sturridge and Suarez who could both play as wide strikers to allow for runs from Sterling through the middle, who looked to break between the lines as well as acting as a distributor and creator behind the front two. The system also had two central midfielders with differing roles, Coutinho as the playmaker extraordinaire and Henderson for boundless energy and pressing. Behind both sat Steven Gerrard, reinvented as a classic protector and whom still did a good job despite age catching up with him and sadly for him, the most unfortunate of slips in Premier League history. ^ An example of Suarez moving across as a wide striker to feed Sturridge and Sterling who has pushed on to create a two v one. Note how although Sturridge has a defender nearby, Sterling is completely free. This is something we saw happen to James Maddison on a number of occasions when we've used this system. ^ Another example of the sort of play we see with a diamond. Liverpool have numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch as Gerrard wins the ball back and looks to feed Henderson who will lay it off to Coutinho. Notice how the system trades off a numerical advantage in midfield for a narrow shape - we can't see any players hugging the touchline in this picture. There are obviously a lot of similarities in the way this team played and the way ours did. In some respects they were even better than our boys, but in others they were much worse. They scored an incredible 101 goals (!) in their 38 games, but also conceded 50 which shows you that for as good as they were, they were an imbalanced outfit. I will talk about more of the differences later on in the Leicester section of the analysis. I think the key takeaway with this system is that it was different to the system Rodgers preferred to use at Swansea (his previous job to Liverpool) where he used a 433 / 4141 like we often see at Leicester. However, given that Liverpool did not possess any class wide players but did possess two good strikers plus good central midfielders, he opted for a system that used the players at his disposal in the most effective way. But that's quite enough about Liverpool! I'm getting a bit sick of talking about them talking about them this season to be honest . So let's move onto our boys in blue. Rodgers 442 Diamond at Leicester City Sky Sports used the following graphic to represent our lineup post match, so let's use that. God knows why Tielemans, Praet and Soyuncu are all mystery men in this picture, but the formation is accurate. So the first thing you have to ask yourself is "why use this formation?" We were on a 7 game winning streak, the best in our history in the Premier League, and our tried and trusted 4141 formation had been doing the business. Or had it? We beat Everton with a last minute goal after switching to a 352 shape, and though we beat Watford 2-0, that game was a rather lackluster display which again saw a change of shape midway through the second half. Teams have been getting wise to us playing 3 centre backs against us and sitting deep. I don't think we expected Aston Villa to play this way given they were at home, but I suspect Rodgers wanted to rotate the team one to give some players a rest, but also to pose Aston Villa more of a direct threat. Pros - Potentially MORE attacking. Two centre forwards to deal with, plus an advanced centre mid at all times. - Against teams that push their fullbacks far forwards, a quick turnover high up the pitch can result in a 2 on 2 scenario where it's one striker against one CB each. Literally one minute into the second half this happened and Iheanacho put the ball just wide. - More players up the pitch when on the ball in the final third. There are two strikers to aim for and three players who drift between the lines. - More numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch. Villa are not known for their dynamic wide play, but rather Jack Grealish coming inside from a wide position is where they get most of their joy from, as we saw in this match also. Cons - Much narrower outlook. Play is typically focused in the middle, as 2 on 1 overloads are much harder to produce than in a 4141. - Having an additional man up front can cost you on the turnover as by it's very nature, more risks are taken upfield. - Despite having more men in central midfield, a good 433 team on paper could dominate the ball with possession in central areas. It might be a risk to play 442 Diamond against a team like Man City for example. - More susceptible to talented wide players. Teams that have both good fullbacks AND good wide forwards could give you a big headache. I wouldn't play this way against Liverpool for example! Differences Better Liverpool 13/14 and Leicester 19/20 Teams The Liverpool team worked really well but I'd argue was an inferior version of our team today. Gerrard was at his peak a world class player, but in 13/14 he was more of a "Regista" type of player like Andrea Pirlo and acted as their deep lying playmaker rather than a ball winner. In our system Ndidi is the ball winner and Tielemans the deep lying playmaker, and this means we have a better defensive player in the same position. Tielemans is also better on the ball than Henderson was. Maddison is better than Sterling was in 13/14. Sterling was just a youngster having his breakthrough season at this point in time, and had a limited goal output. Whilst he had obvious talent, he wasn't as good at understanding his position as Maddison is. Countinho was superb this season, probably better than Tielemans and Maddison, but not dramatically so. We have multiple creative players, and Praet in this system I would rate as better than Henderson. Henderson has of course proved to be brilliant under Klopp performing a slightly different role where he is not relied on for creativity as much. Our defence and keeper are light years better than the Liverpool team. Soyuncu and Evans are the best pairing in the division and both are probably in the top 5 defenders on current form. Kasper is proven international class who was Denmark's player of the tournament at the last world cup. Our full backs are much better. Glen Johnson had a good season in 13/14 but he is no Ricardo! Chilwell is also far superior to Flanagan. Luis Suarez had one of the best seasons of any player in Premier League history with a scarcely believable 31 goals. He was even suspended for some of the games. But at Leicester we have Vardy who with 16 goals in 16 games is going at a pace that no player in Premier League history has gone at so far. Sturridge was in the form of his life this season with 21 goals and 7 assists. His interplay with Suarez and Sterling was something else. Suarez rightly took the plaudits, but Sturridge was electric too. So based on this, I would say that 442 Diamond could be a real weapon in Leicester's locker this season, as we have great personnel to pull it off. For me I think it relies on Iheanacho playing as well he has done in his last two games, as otherwise we don't have a player who is on the same level as Daniel Sturridge who was brilliant in 13/14. These are stats from Kelechi's performance today, and they are extremely impressive: Attacking Patterns of Play The 4141 system often to create overloads on one side of the pitch where a full back and wide forward combine so that either teh fullback or wide forward can put in a cross to Vardy or either Maddison / Tielemans coming in from deep. Here is an example of Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes combining against Burnley earlier in the season. Barnes gets away from 3 (!) players here, which is untypical, but the way he combines with Chilwell is typical, as is the position on the pitch from where he crosses from. Note he is both quite wide and near the touchline when he plays the ball. Now in a Diamond system, we don't have wide players, so this means the team has to attack more centrally. So let's look at a great example of that with Nacho's goal today: ^ Note that Maddison who makes the assist crosses much closer to the goal - just outside the 18 yard box. Also note that Chilwell is much further away as he is providing width. ^ Having a look at the goal with the help of the pause button we can see more of the nuances of the system. I've marked three players with asterisks (*), and these are our attacking midfielders in the squad. Note how all 3 of Maddison, Tielemans and Praet are supporting the attack AND how all three of them have drifted between the lines. Praet is unmarked, McGinn is the wrong position to stop Tielemans and Maddison has snuck free to play the pass. This is how the Diamond system is supposed to work - the team is a bit more narrow, but is more direct and has more players committed forwards to score a goal, giving the other team much more to worry about. Taking a look at the goal from more of a Nigel Pearson style aerial view, we see more of the nuance of the system. We have 3 players in Vardy, Nacho and Maddison who operate furthest forwards. We have 7 players in total attacking the ball at a time, which is very aggressive. Also note how much distance there is between Ndidi and Tielemans on the ball. This would normally never be as large a gap as this in a 4141, but in this system, we have a forward 7 and then a defensive 3 who deliberately stay a bit further back to give them more time to deal with counter attacks on the turnover. Also note how Ricardo is slightly further behind Chilwell here, which means on a turnover he has slightly more time to get back. In fact, this is typical in all of our systems we play, and it's why you don't see Chilwell pass to Ricardo or vice versa, whereas Liverpool often play passes from TAA to Robertson and vice versa. Defensive Setup Whilst we scored a plethora of goals again today, I'd argue the most impressive thing about Leicester this season is our exceptional defence. We have the least goals and shots conceded and are able to keep teams at bay. But in this game in the first half especially we did look a bit shaky and Villa should have scored through El Gazi. ^ This picture paints a good picture of our typical defensive setup against Villa attacks and here we can potentially see some issues. Ricardo doesn't have much support so Grealish could play it down the wing to Targett supporting from Left Back. We also see that in having two players up front in Vardy and Nacho that Villa's onrushing attacking midfielders have broken free, and McGinn (7) and Luiz are going to attract our defenders to create space in our box. As play develops we see that even Ricardo who IMO could make a claim for best Right Back in the world on current form cannot be in two places at once and Targett receives the ball and is able to play in a great cross, from which Villa should score. Summary The 442 Diamond System makes us more direct and offers more of an attacking threat. However, it also makes us more susceptible to attacking patterns of play from opponents with good wide players. 442 Diamond is a narrow system that relies heavily on intelligent and technical midfielders who can drift between the lines. The 4141 system gives us more natural width, but has just one focal point at all times in Vardy. This is why it's essential that players like Barnes, Perez, Tielemans and Maddison all join the attack from deeper positions as play develops. Which is the better system? Depends on who we are playing against! But there is no doubt that today it worked superbly well. I would argue that first half it didn't nullify Villa's best player in Grealish, but we were 2-0 up and cruising until giving away a soft goal, so overall it did nullify their style of play. Second half Dean Smith moved Grealish to centre mid to get on the ball more often, but I think this backfired dramatically. It meant he had to compete with Wilfred Ndidi and well... I think there is only going to be one winner there. Villa also pushed their fullbacks very far forwards meaning a lot of the time Nacho and Vardy where 2 on 2 versus their centre backs, as shown for our first goal. So we can definitely say this system worked very well against Villa, though it may not work so well against another team. A great option to have though!
  6. 81 points
    Brace yourself. No seriously, brace yourself. Ready?
  7. 76 points
    It would be quite funny to see Liverpool win the title at Anfield with no crowd. For that reason, I'm in.
  8. 72 points
    Broke my heart seeing him come over to the crowd to apologise at full time. No one has less to apologise for to Leicester fans.
  9. 71 points
  10. 70 points
    LAWRO'S PREDICTION Leicester's problem in these sort of games - away, and against a team much lower than them - is that they have become a scalp. Going to St Mary's and trying to win the game is a very different task to going to somewhere like Anfield, when people are expecting them to be beaten. It is going to be interesting to see how Brendan Rodgers' side deal with it. Prediction: 1-1
  11. 69 points
    Having this legend back made a massive difference.
  12. 69 points
    Will be massively disappointed if JJ doesn’t start next match
  13. 65 points
    I'm never one to panic and talk about sacking managers maybe because I've seen it get worse so often but when it looks like you're manager has no faith in the team to beat a bottom 3 team despite outplaying them for 45 mins it makes me lose faith in that manager. I'm still a long way from wanting him out but he's plummeted in my estimation of him. If the team are lacking bottle then for me this is a big reflection of the signals coming from the manager.
  14. 63 points
    She’s desperate for attention She’ll lie to get a mention He’ll **** you for your pension The Rooney Family
  15. 62 points
    It's official: OHL has just been promoted to the Belgian 1st division!!! After numerous of court orders and complaint, the League had no other option as to promote both us and Beerschot. Waasland-Beveren is staying up as well. This whole situation could've been avoided if the League used common sense! We finally can start signing new players!
  16. 60 points
  17. 58 points
    Brighton fan here... You're the best side I've seen at the Amex this season. You won't know this, but we've actually been pretty decent at home and created a lot of chances - but we didn't really get a sniff today. Maddison and Vardy might get the headlines but your defence is rock solid. My missus is a Leicester girl and we're going to have a sneaky £20 on Leicester to win the PL. Good luck from the rainy south coast.
  18. 57 points
    Hi, thanks for your concern, the gentleman was my dad. His life was saved by the prompt actions of the paramedics & the medical team at the stadium. He had to be shocked 3 times with the portable defribrillators they carry, after his heart rhythm went haywire.He had treatment in the medical room at the stadium & was taken to the LRI, before being rushed to Glenfield General. Amazingly today he was sitting up in a chair wired to monitors. They are doing tests to find out what caused his heart to malfunction.The doctors said if it had happened anywhere else but where it did, with the paramedics only a few metres away, he wouldn't have survived, so we have a lot to be grateful for. I was elsewhere in the stadium with my son & because it happened near full-time I wasn't aware anything had happened until I was walking back to the car. He won't be up & about for the Boxing Day match, but fingers crossed he'll be back in his seat sometime in the New Year.
  19. 56 points
    I think as the dust settles on a successful yet disappointing season I think it’s worth acknowledging this mans contribution. He’s not had an easy ride with us, he arrived with such high expectation and never really got the run of games needed and when he has played it was often in a role he wasn’t used to. After things going terribly and fans getting on his back it would have been reasonable for him to seek a move elsewhere. But he stayed professional when others simply wouldn’t, he got his head down and worked his socks off to improve behind the scenes. He has been used as a bit part player, who even when playing well is the first to be dropped. He was often a scapegoat, with the manager verbally criticizing him often unfairly. But not once has he complained to the media, sulked or tried to push through a move. He has just had his best season for us and things would really have crumbled without his contributions. The hero we needed but didn’t know. Our fans dont seem to warm to him in the same way we do to smiley players (Shinji/ nuge etc) but he has been great imo! No player should be happy to be subbed, but you need players who can accept their role in the team. This often isn’t the strikers who live off goals, but Kel has never stropped when his number comes up. Hope that we get to see him again next season!!
  20. 56 points
    An Open Letter From Andy King To my LCFC family, Today it’s been announced that I’ll be leaving the Club and writing this was never going to be easy, even though I know it’s been coming for a while now. After all, all good things come to an end, but what a journey it’s been and I feel nothing but pride and happiness writing this statement. I came as a 16 year old boy in 2005 chasing a dream of playing one game of professional football for Leicester City. I leave a Premier League champion, having played 378 times. I’ve given you my all every time I stepped on the pitch and, in turn, the amount of love and support you’ve shown me over the years has been unbelievable. You’ve been there in the bad times and the very best times and I will never be able to thank you enough. I’m so happy the Club are allowing me the opportunity of showing my thanks to you at a later, safer date and that is something I’m already looking forward to. As a city, you’ve given me a life, a family and somewhere I now call home. There are too many thank yous to place on record however, I have to say how Khun Vichai changed my life. The way he transformed not only the Club, but the mentality of me as a player and a person is immeasurable. The same should be said for Top, who I have nothing but gratitude and respect for in how he has treated me since he arrived at the Club. To the lads, I can only thank you. It’s been a joy to pull the shirt on with you and together we’ve achieved things many people thought not possible. The Club is an amazing place and I take great comfort knowing I’ve had the privilege of playing a very small part in that. I’m now looking forward to the future, I’ve still got huge desire to play at the highest level possible, both at club level and in my international career, and can’t wait to see what the future holds. I look forward to seeing you soon and, from now on, I watch and celebrate on as one of you. Kingy
  21. 56 points
    Don't understand that article. Says he lost two years at a top team but also says he was close to joining Arsenal? Which was it?
  22. 55 points
    What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 15 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 13 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 10 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 8 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 7 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 5 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We're still 3 points ahead of Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! We still have a better goal difference than Man Utd!!! What are you all so worried about!?!!?!?! All we need to do is beat Man Utd!!!
  23. 55 points
    Congratulations on the win, the better side won. I enjoyed the match and have to admit Albion were fortunate not to go in a couple of goals down at HT. We seemed to pick up the tempo for 15-20 minutes in the second half giving me hope that we might just get something from this game but alas no. I think we were our own worst enemies for the first goal getting caught so short at the back but Vardy got the decision to pass to Perez just right as he was left on his own by our chasing defenders. I like JV, always have, but I didn't think he was on it yesterday. For all that though he was a constant threat. As for the penalty re-take, that had me scratching my head to be honest as I thought that encroachment would give us a free kick (not that in any way it would have changed the result) I hope you go on to really push Liverpool for the title - no make that actually win it. I certainly think your first choice 11 is as good as theirs. We'll try to do you a favour next week 😉 Albion? We are playing some nice stuff at times but yesterday was just too much of a challenge. We missed Lewis Dunk (I thought Duffy's lack of pace and distribution caused us lots of problems) but other than that I was reasonably happy with the way we played. We need a big forward to help Moupay out I feel but the midfield is improving all the time - Propper has come on in leaps and bounds under the new management for example. The long-term aim is for top 10 but we are a fair bit from that just yet but who knows what a couple of shrewd buys could give us. Potter-style football has (largely) been a joy to watch (apart from Chelsea away and yesterday) and I'm hopeful for the future. Anyway, well done for yesterday - now go and win the League.
  24. 55 points
    What a guy. He never has to apologise to us. Ever. He gave me one of the greatest birthdays of my life against Sevilla. I reject your apology you ****ing hero.
  25. 54 points
    Forget what happened today in the match. The best news this season is that FINALLY Jamie Vardy wins the Premier League Golden Boot! Fitting that he does it in the season he gets the 100 PL goals too. Well done Vardy! Fully deserved!
  26. 54 points
    I feel this deserves a discussion on the main forum Norwich / spurs and Newcastle have now all cut the wages of all NON-playing staff a league that generates billions every year cannot and should not be asking near minimum wage staff to take a pay cut while multi millionaire playboys on the playing staff receive bonuses for games that will not or have not been played ! I would like our club to guarantee our non-playing staff will not suffer like this given our excellent financial position, and I’d love to see a league wide boycott of any team that does cut the wages of these lowest paid staff This growing story has made me ill , it’s disgusting and immoral to pay someone £250k a week full wages while asking someone on £16,000 a year to to take a pay cut ! My love of English football is being tested to the core right now
  27. 54 points
    Last few weeks have been tough to take. The football's bad enough, but a section of out support seem to have embraced a childish right-wing reactionary agenda that is starting to brand our club in a regrettable way. I'd remind these wankers that - like it or not - this is a radical and diverse city, and you lot are a frankly embarrassing stain on it. Why don't you take your Tory posturing somewhere it's wanted, Absolute tossers.
  28. 54 points
    Got to love this game. Got to love this club.
  29. 52 points
    Won the Champions League and the Club World Cup with Inter Milan. Wears a ****ing Leicester City jacket around the house. And not even just something he had lying around from his one season here: it's one from the current ****ing season. He's magic.
  30. 51 points
    This forum is bloody embarrassing. After every loss you just turn on all the players. shameful.
  31. 51 points
  32. 51 points
    I actually think considering how well you have been playing we did well to stay in the game today Rodgers has come back from Celtic a far more mature and astute manager, and I think you have a lovley mix at the moment, experience with evans and vardy and young players of top quality around that. Only time I have thought he got it wrong was at United when he played with the handbrake and played the name not the line up. Outside of that he has done very well, even today putting Gray on today when perez was tiring to turn the game. My fear for us is if we decide to appoint that Mourinho , who does not carry himself like a arsenal manager, it was would be the worst culture fit possible I know arsene did not always carry himself brilliantly in the latter years but their is a certain standard of manager a old club like ours which he doesn't have. His success may work at first but disaster like a dark cloud would loom soon around the corner. Good luck anyway, I think the key for you is one step at a time, with the likes of Morgan and Fuchs still in the dressing room I am sure reminders will be given week to week.
  33. 51 points
    What a man. He deserved every bit of success for being such a gent. He is doing his father proud.
  34. 51 points
    I'm still in the stands singing now, where are you? Plastic.
  35. 50 points
    After we secured Top 5 yesterday, I think it’s fitting to remember this quote from Khun Vichai: “I am asking for three years, and we'll be there. We won't take the huge leap to challenge the league's top five clubs immediately. Do we have a chance to beat them? Yes, we have, but I think we need to establish our foothold in the league first and then we think about our next step.” We forget (well, I do) sometimes that the Thai ownership has transformed this club. Today we sit 5th in the best league in the world and it’s the second time we have broken the stranglehold of the “bigger” clubs. Keep building, god knows where it will take us next. Vichai truly had a dream....
  36. 49 points
    Apology accepted from me. Let's move on.
  37. 49 points
    Love this man. He's stepped up brilliantly these past few games, especially given his lack of game time for a long time now. While deservedly behind Chilwell, I still think he's better offensively than Chilwell is; Ben could learn a lot from how Fuchs whips a cross in. That goal saving tackle on Kante was class too. Yes, his legs are going, but what a pro and a character. I've enjoyed seeing him get back in the side. City legend.
  38. 49 points
    Let’s all take a minute to appreciate this bell end and hope he really enjoys his dinner this evening!
  39. 49 points
    5) People leaving 2 minutes early to beat the traffic and not clapping the lads off
  40. 49 points
    I'm gonna do it. I'm going to be the callous bastard. How many of these are there going to be? There was one at Wolves for a fan who'd died. Has it become the default thing now that we have a minute's applause for anyone whose family put their head above the parapet and ask for one? It's totally diluting the minute's applause to something where people sit and clap their hands when they have no idea what's going on, merely joining in with the crowd.
  41. 48 points
    At the beginning of the season if you were offered top 6 we all would have taken it, if they also said you would play some sublime football and break a record for most goals scored in a game you would have taken it. For Brendan to come in and complete his long term project in 1 year and even before the season has ended is a feat worth applauding. We went toe to toe with Liverpool and Man city before the difference in available transfer money shone to light, which is out of our hands really. We have been without our player of the year and the best right back in the league for a while now, add madderz the creative spark, cags, chilli.... I'd just like to come at this with a different angle and say congratulations to Top,Brendan,the team and all at LCFC for a brilliant and exciting season. We are still a young squad learning together and can only get better together.
  42. 48 points
    JAMIE VARDYS HAVING A friend in the garden in keeping with lockdown rules
  43. 48 points
    Following positive discussions with the club we have secured a reserved singing section in the Kop for the FA Cup fixture with Wigan. See further details below. Please share with follow fans you feel may be interested in securing a spot in this area, everyone will need to follow the outlined process to secure a ticket. Hopefully you'll be joining us in backing the lads on the road to Wembley! UFS
  44. 48 points
    Saw this and had to share. Wait till the end
  45. 47 points
    Unfortunately, my dad, 80, took a really heavy fall walking to the ground from the car yesterday. Fortunately he's okay. Initially, when he went down, I thought he would inevitably have fractured something. Thankfully, he is okay. Because he knocked his head and had a slight graze, I wanted him to get checked out. Dad, more concerned about being embarrassed than injured, was up quickly despite initially being a bit shocked, and we continued to the ground. I asked a steward if we could see a first-raider. The steward was fantastic and took us to the medical centre (under the east stand). There were an impressive number of medics there, all of whom were brilliant Dad was thoroughly checked, a doctor was called. There were worries because of medication that Dad has to take. There was the possibility of needing to go to hospital (Dad looked more shocked than we he fell as he was looking forward to the match). At least so e of the medics seem to be full time health care professionals who volunteer for St John's Ambulance). We went to our seats and watched the game. Thanks to the two City fans who gave us support immediately after Dad fell. Thanks tp the superb volunteers and professionals at the ground.
  46. 46 points
    Someone has far too much time on their Hands.
  47. 46 points
    T here’s a video out there, somewhere, of my first ever football match. Literally first ever match. I was six years old. I was playing for a team called the Woburn Lions, which is the village just over from mine outside of Milton Keynes. We had purple and light blue kits. Kind of awful looking things if I remember correctly. Mine was a few sizes too big because it had been handed down from an age group a few above ours. I was wearing shin pads that cost four pound that my dad and I had gone to buy together. I remember that day … he got me black boots, too. He always said, “Only black boots until you can afford your own.” We were playing a team called Green Lyef. I think I scored five goals. Me and my best mate at the time both did really well that day. We hadn’t ever had a practice or organised kick about — it was just pure football and pure mayhem. Shin kicking. Jersey tugging. Falling. Probably tears. When I think of that video, and that baggy purple kit, I see a boy who had no idea he was any good. And my mate’s dad taped the whole thing on a camcorder. I didn’t actually see it until six years later when I was a bit older. I think back to that video from time to time now. You know, I’ve just had my 11th cap with England — which still sounds crazy to say, and it means more to me than I can put into words. But the even crazier thing is, when I think of that video, and that baggy purple kit, I see a boy who had no idea he was any good. And wouldn’t know he was any good for a long time. I see a boy who almost gave up. I see a boy that, if it weren’t for a hero along the way, he never would have made it. Sometimes the best dreams aren’t yours — they’re the ones someone else tells you, you can achieve. Let me tell you about my hero. In 2012, I was playing for the U16s in the Leicester Academy. I had always been a good player growing up, despite never working too hard at it. I just sort of had this natural talent that propelled me through the ranks when I was quite young. But something happened over the summer going into that season — everyone seemingly caught up with me. I don’t know if it was our group of lads sort of maturing and growing into their bodies, or everyone just put in more work than me. I went, in a single summer, from one of the top players in the side, to one of the worst. It was tough on me, and it was tough on my dad. He drove me, nearly every day, from our home outside Milton Keynes to the academy for training. And on Thursdays after our sessions ended, our manager would read out the side that’d be starting on the weekend. For months and months, I’d never be in it. Not even sat on the bench, either. Just left out. Back to the academy on match days to train with the others who were left out. I hated Thursdays, mate, I really did. Courtesy of Ben Chilwell When I think back to those days, I remember my dad’s car. It was a nice car, but I just couldn’t stand the sight of it on those Thursdays. I’d see it sitting there in the parking lot. And I knew what was ahead for me. I’d start the conversation in my head before I even got in the car, like a boxer weaving back and forth, dodging invisible punches. Not in the team, again. Ben, Son … you’re not working hard enough — you’re not going to go anywhere with this if you keep up this level of effort. Dad, I’m doing my best. We’d go to the park for two hours and just kick the ball against a wall. I’d hit passes and stare at the clock across the street, until exactly two hours would pass, and then I’d go home. He’d make me go running to keep my fitness up. I don’t know what he saw in me. He knew talent, though, and he knew sport. He was a proper good tennis player back in his day growing up in New Zealand. But he never got the chance to go after his dream because he had to start working for his family. I think, looking back, he saw a lot of himself in me. And he didn’t want to me to fall short of my potential. Everything he did was coming from a place of love. He’s my hero. When you’re 15 years old, you never really know the potential that other people may see in you. You have to want it because you want it — not for anybody else. My mum and dad didn’t give up on my football. They saw what was possible — they saw the dream, and what it was made of. And they pushed me until I understood that. Their belief finally forced me out of my comfort zone, my cruise control. I channelled that energy my dad had and put it into my work. Wasted talent…. Just watch me. I used that fire to become the captain of the Leicester U16s the following year, and I was cruising along pretty well. I was comfortable, enjoying my football. But when I turned 18, my mental strength was tested again. Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images) I was away with the England U21s, when I got a call from my agent. “Huddersfield want you on loan. They’re a Championship side with a proper manager, and they want to give you some real time in the side.” I was loving my football with the Leicester youth teams, and I felt close to breaking into the senior side — which was in the early stages of the miracle title push, and the buzz around town was incredible. But I heard my dad’s voice in my head, I knew what he’d say if I told him I passed up the chance. So off to Huddersfield I went — a step into the unknown. There’s a point to all this, trust me. I’m not taking you with me back in time without getting you somewhere in the end, O.K.? I got to Huddersfield at half-past three in the morning from the England camp. I had training the next day. I could barely sleep. I had never played on a proper senior men’s side. My heart was just racing lying in bed. I didn’t want the alarm to go off, I didn’t want to wake up. I was petrified. I remember walking into the change room and feeling like everyone was watching me. I felt that self-defeating version of me come back out, the one that didn’t want to work for fear of failure, and wanted to rely on his talent alone. I think everyone can feel that way in a new place, whether it’s a new job or new school — that sort of fear is common. I just had to find a way to push through that at first. David Wagner, the manager at Huddersfield, was the one who really put the confidence in me that I could play at a senior level. He had seen a lot of talents when he was a coach in Dortmund with the youth teams — and he pulled me aside one day and told me I could be one of the great left backs one day if I kept working at it. That’s the sort of thing you hear and it almost makes you nervous, you know. Like, Me? One of the greats? You don’t forget something like that, though. My play went up another level. At Huddersfield, I learned I could play at a professional level. That’s a special club. I went back to Leicester a few months later after being recalled from my loan. To be in and around the club during the title push was really important to me and to a lot of the youth players at that time. We saw, literally, what it took to be a winner. And more importantly we saw what it meant to the longtime Leicester players, like Andy King. He’s a true club legend, and the support he has shown me has meant so much. Seeing him win the Premier League — that’s what damn dreams are made of. He helped me grow so much. And over the last couple of seasons I’ve worked my way into the side and I feel like a real part of the club I grew up watching — which is the best feeling in the world, it really is. Making my Premier League debut in October 2016, with my whole family in the crowd at the ground we used to go to when I was little … it puts all the tough moments into perspective. And now I feel like I’m on my way. I want to be the best left back in the world. That feels good to say. Sam Robles/The Players' Tribune It feels possible, too, because I look at a guy like Andy Robertson at Liverpool. He has a great story, right? Almost quit, like I did, kept at it, pushed himself past the limits he thought he had, and now he’s one of the best in the world. I had a good chat with him a few months back at Trent Alexander-Arnold’s birthday dinner. Anyway, I spoke with Andy for a bit and I told him he’s class and whatnot and he said the same to me. It was really cool to chat with him. And just to sort of pick his brain for a bit about football, it meant a lot to me. Being part of the England setup has been a great experience in so many ways. My debut was an incredible moment for me. The fact that it happened in Leicester at the King Power … I’ll tell my grandkids about that day until I’m blue in the face. But what I remember most — the image that will stick with me forever — was seeing my family in the players’ lounge, right after the match. I took the elevator up to the lounge and the first thing I saw was my three best friends sitting with my mum, dad and sister. I saw the smiles on their faces and stuff, and yeah, I don’t know exactly how to put into words the feeling I had walking over to them. It gets me a bit emotional just thinking about it now. All I know is I had a big grin on my face, and we didn’t talk about football at all. We talked about the road it took for us to get to that point. Because it’s us, not me, who had reached this moment. I think my dad and I maybe even shared a few laughs about the times we used to spend on the road, going to and from training. Looking back, I’m grateful for his belief in me. All those people at the table in the players’ lounge believed in me. Even if I hadn’t yet figured out how to believe in myself. So, yeah, that’s it. That’s my blog. It’s my first time doing one of these, so I hope you like it. And if you’re a kid trying to make it as a footballer somewhere, I hope this gives you another perspective on things. Stay dreaming.
  48. 46 points
    Hello Foxes! Aaron here, a writer from Próxima Jornada, a website specialising in Portuguese football and footballers. I recently conducted an interview with Ricardo Pereira at Leicester’s training complex. In the interview he speaks about Leicester, hopes for the season and what it’s like to work under Brendan Rodgers. Just thought I’d drop it in here in case it was of interest! The link is: https://proximajornada1.wordpress.com/2019/11/14/ricardo-pereira-the-interview/ Good luck for the rest of the season! - Aaron
  49. 46 points
    Enough of the meaning about whether it was right or wrong to bring him on yesterday. Let's appreciate his achievement of reaching 300 appearances for the club yesterday! What a player he's been for us over the years and will rightly go down as one of the club's biggest ever legends. I, along with many others, thought it was a waste of money for Pearson to spend £1mil on him. But as often was the case, Pearson knew best.
  50. 46 points
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