Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Schmeichel handed Denmark Euro call-up

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been awarded a late call-up to the Denmark national squad which travels to Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012 next month.

The 25-year-old will replace injured Thomas Sorensen in Morten Olsen's 23-man touring party and the Danish coach insists he has no fears in handing the uncapped Foxes' keeper a place in his squad.

"He has worked seriously on his development as a goalkeeper," said Olsen, "We followed him closely during the season for Leicester."

Full Denmark Squad for Euro 2012:

Goalkeepers: Stephan Andersen (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Anders Lindegaard (Manchester United), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

Defenders: Lars Jacobsen (FC Copenhagen), Simon Poulsen (AZ Alkmaar), Daniel Wass (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Simon Kjaer (AS Roma), Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Andreas Bjelland (FC Nordsjaelland), Jores Okore (FC Nordsjaelland)

Midfielders: William Kvist (VfB Stuttgart), Christian Poulsen (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Niki Zimling (Club Bruges), Jakob Poulsen (Midtjylland), Lasse Schone (NEC Nijmegen), Tobias Mikkelsen (FC Nordsjaelland), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Brondby), Thomas Kahlenberg (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Michael Silberbauer (Young Boys)

Forwards: Christian Eriksen (Ajax Amsterdam), Niclas Pedersen (FC Groningen), Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal), Dennis Rommedahl (Brondby)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

City break non-league transfer record

Leicester City have secured a record-breaking deal, as they have made their third signing of this summer.

The Foxes have bid a reported £1 million for Fleetwood Town striker Jamie Vardy and agreed terms with the player at the King Power Stadium yesterday. The deal has broken the transfer record for a player from the non-league system and will be a major fillip for the Cod Army's first Football League pre-season.

Record breaker: Jamie Vardy has signed for the Foxes

The 25-year-old striker netted 34 goals this season to help Fleetwood to promotion and has signed a three-year deal with City. Born in Sheffield, Vardy was released by Wednesday's academy and found his way to Stocksbridge Park Steels. After scoring 66 goals in just 107 appearances for the South Yorkshire outfit he moved to Halifax Town in 2010 and scored an impressive 29 goals in 41 games for the Shaymen. He moved to Fleetwood for an undisclosed fee the following summer and his impressive record attracted Nigel Pearson as early as January, when a bid for Vardy was turned-down by the Lancashire club.

"I got to sit down for a chat with Nigel and this is where I wanted to come," Vardy said, "You see the facilities and I thought, 'yes, I can see myself playing here'. And obviously because the manager wanted me as well it made the decision easier. He said he'd been watching me for quite a while, obviously if I've caught his eye I must have been doing something right."

Having scored against Championship Blackpool in the FA Cup Fylde derby earlier in the year, Vardy feels ready to challenge at the highest level - as Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley attests.

"We always knew that Jamie was going to move on this pre-season," he told BBC Lancashire, "We wish him well because he's been fantastic for the club. We've fought for good terms and we're pleased with the compensation that we've got. He's been absolutely amazing and a lot of supporters will say he's the best player ever that has ever played for Fleetwood."

Meanwhile the club have finally confirmed the departures of Steve Howard, Matt Oakley and Aleksandar Tunchev whose contracts expire at the end of June. Additionally, striker Darius Vassell, goalkeeper Chris Weale and youth product Elliott Chamberlain have not been offered new deals and are free to look for new clubs. Weale is thought to be in talks over a move to Yeovil Town in his native Somerset.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Foxes Sign United Duo

Ritchie De Laet and Matty James have joined Leicester City from Manchester United today in a deal worth a reported £2 million.

The Old Trafford pair become Nigel Pearson's first signings of what it's expected to be another busy summer at the King Power Stadium.

More to follow.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Leicester set to sign Manchester United trio?

It is believed that Leicester City are in the final stages of securing the services of three Manchester United startlets.

Defender Richie de Lait and midfielder Matty James are thought to be involved in a £2 million deal with the Foxes. Both have made just three senior appearances for the Red Devils and are not thought to be involved in Sir Alex Ferguson's plans for the future.

Meanwhile, news is also rife that Larnell Cole - also a product of the Old Trafford academy - could move to the King Power Stadium. Ferguson has stated his intentions to allow young players out on loan to gain first-team experience next term.

City will finance the purchase of their targets with the potential sale of a string of Sven Goran Eriksson signings. According to the Mirror, Jermaine Beckford, Lee Peltier and Paul Konchesky could join defender Matt Mills on the exit list.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Heskey favours return to Leicester

Glory days: Heskey won the League Cup
twice with Leicester
Leicester City academy graduate Emile Heskey favours a return to his former club as contract talks with his current side, Aston Villa, have stalled.

The 34-year old former City, Liverpool, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and England striker has admitted that he would be interested in a return to the East Midlands, where he burst onto the scene as part of the successful Martin O'Neill teams of the late 1990s.

Heskey, a two-times League Cup winner with Leicester, told BBC Sport that there is a likelihood of him rejoining his boyhood club, with his family still living and working in the city.

"There's a possibility that might happen. I'm not going to turn anything down," he said, ""I haven't got a club to be honest. There are no contract talks so I'll be looking elsewhere. Obviously, my contract is up, so I just take it day by day and see what crops up."

Villa have refused to offer Heskey a new deal at Villa Park, with his appearances this season limited to those as substitute. He has not scored for Alex McLeish's ailing side since August. With Steve Howard having left the King Power Stadium the place for a target man is up for grabs and, with Heskey seeking a new job, a return to Leicester would not be unlikely - despite his age.

"I'm 34," he added, "I still feel I can play, so I don't see why I need to retire just now. From when I started, I always said I wanted to play at the highest level, wherever that might be. You always strive for that. I'm actually starting my coaching badges, so that is another avenue I'm going down now. But I'm going to have a little break, and then see what offers there are."

Heskey's £11 million move to Liverpool in 2000 remains as Leicester's record transfer fee received and he would be a popular signing for under-pressure Nigel Pearson to make. His England career earned him criticism for a lack of goals, but vital contributions in his 66 caps earned him a steadfast reputation for power and brawn in attack.

Monday, 7 May 2012

St Ledger in Irish Euro 2012 Squad

Leicester City will be represented in next month's European Championships when Sean St Ledger travels with his Irish team mates to Poland and Ukraine.

International: City's St Ledger celebrates scoring for Ireland
against Slovakia in the Euro 2012 qualifying round

The Foxes' defender joins Shay Given and Robbie Keane amongst other Premier League names in the 23-man squad to face Italy and Croatia plus World and European champions Spain in Group C. St Ledger featured heavily in the Republic's qualifying campaign, playing in wins over Andorra, Armenia and Estonia and scoring the crucial goal to hand Ireland a draw against Slovakia.

St Ledger has earned much respect playing for Leicester this season having been signed by Sven Goran Eriksson last summer, but has become frustrated with a lack of first team action having started just 22 games this season.

"Next season I want to start more games," said St Ledger, "I want to play here and I want to start. My aim is to play every game and I haven't done that this season. I am 28 next season and I want to play first-team football. If I can't do it, then it is difficult because of my age and my international career. Leicester is a big club and when I come back for pre-season, after the Euros, hopefully, I will be fit and challenging for a starting place."

Full Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012
Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).

Friday, 4 May 2012

2011/12 Analysed: Player-by-Player - Part One

Last season's disappointment yielded a bright future when Leicester City spent a record breaking £10-15 million on players over the summer. With those big names failing to deliver on their promise of Premier League promotion, many have come under criticism with the future of many now hanging in the balance. To understand what the future might hold, let's first examine the performance of each and every player to feature in the first team squad over the 2011/12 nPower Championship campaign.

Foxes favourite to land Vardy

Wanted man: Fleetwood's Jamie Vardy
Leicester City have emerged as favourites for the signature of Fleetwood Town striker Jamie Vardy.

The 25-year-old scored 34 goals to put the Cod Army into the Football League for the first time, as they won the Conference National title. City made a £1 million bid for Vardy in January but that was rejected.

"Jamie Vardy is a Fleetwood player and will remain that way until the summer," Cod Army manager Micky Mellon told BBC Radio Lancashire in the winter, "There is absolutely no doubt about that. He was brought here to do a job for the football club and he'll finish that job off."

It seems, however, that Fleetwood would be lucky to keep hold of the in-demand forward and the Foxes are prime candidates to sign the striker.

Meanwhile, the Leicester Mercury has reported that Nigel Pearson has submitted a bid for defender James Chester, who he managed during his year in charge at Hull City. The Foxes' approach has already been rebuffed by the Tigers but it is thought that, with the defender as Pearson's prime target, Leicester will be in a position to make a further offer for the 23-year-old.

Bids have also been made for Manchester United's Ezekiel Fryers and Richie du Lait, whilst Hull have also been approached over midfielder Robert Koren in a busy start to the summer at the King Power Stadium.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tunchev and Pantsil join Howard as exit queue grows

Aleksandar Tunchev has become the next man to depart the King Power Stadium, according to sources close to Of Fosse and Foxes.

The Bulgarian international featured only sparsely for Leicester City since returning from long-term injury at the start of the season and it looks likely that he will follow fellow veteran Steve Howard in leaving the Foxes this week. Tunchev's long career in the East Midlands began at the start of the successful 2009/10 League One promotion campaign, with his assured performances earning him much respect from the club's fans.

However, a knee injury sustained against Crystal Palace half way through that season cut-short his Foxes' career, with a return mid-way through this season widely expected after his successful spell on loan at Selhurst Park. Tunchev made only his sixth appearance in royal blue in three years when the Foxes travelled to face Palace in January this year but, despite playing a significant role in the Foxes' victory, his position was overtaken by the arrival of Wes Morgan and he failed to appear again for Leicester. He leaves the club after nearly four years having made just 28 appearances.

Meanwhile, defender John Pantsil is also believed to have left the club. Bought in by Sven Goran Eriksson as an experienced international on a free transfer from Fulham, Pantsil was expected to play a significant role in City's defence but failed to make his way into a regular first team berth. The Ghanaian international leaves the club having made just six first-team appearances.

Schmeichel big winner on awards night

Kasper Schmeichel was the big winner at Leicester City's gala awards dinner last night as he picked-up two of the top awards.

When You're Smiling: Schmeichel is Player of the Year

The Foxes' keeper was handed the supporter-voted Player of the Year accolade and was voted by his team mates as the Players' Player of the Year. He beat David Nugent and Paul Konchesky to the two top prizes, having been a stand-out performer throughout a disappointing and inconsistent season.

Ben Marshall added the Goal of the Year award to his trophy cabinet to sit alongside the award for Young Player of the Year following his strike against Chelsea in the FA Cup Quarter Final, whilst Tom Hopper beat fellow Academy graduate Harry Panayiotou to the Academy Player of the Year crown.

The final Team Performance of the Year award, voted for by the management team, recognised the achievements of the squad that travelled to face Premier League Norwich City in the FA Cup Fifth Round.

Leeds expected to make early Beckford bid

Record: Beckford scored 72 time at Leeds
Leeds United are widely anticipated to make an early bid to take Jermaine Beckford back to Elland Road.

The Leicester City striker, signed on transfer deadline day last summer by Sven Goran Eriksson, has failed to impress many during his first season in the East Midlands and was outscored by fellow summer arrival David Nugent in all competitions.

Beckford began his professional career with Leeds having impressed at Wealdstone in his youth. His goals saw United promoted back into the Championship, scoring 72 times in just 126 appearances. His form at Elland Road attracted David Moyes' Everton and he moved to Goodison Park but failed to ignite a Premier League career and was snapped up for £2 million by Eriksson last summer having scored on eight occasions for the Toffees.

With just nine goals to his tally in 39 appearances this season for the Foxes, Beckford has not found favour with City's supporters despite a hat-trick against rivals Nottingham Forest in January. Leicester are thought to be open to offers for the 28-year-old, with Leeds believed to be favourites to capture the player.