Premier League Career: Manchester City (2007-2009), Leicester City (2014-PRESENT)
Kasper Schmeichel’s place in Leicester City history is already secure. The Dane has been a huge part of the Foxes remarkable journey in the last few years with the peak being that unbelievable Premier League title success in 2016. Kasper is still one of Leicester’s best players and rarely misses a match. His achievements with Leicester mean he is the only son of a father to have won the Premier League title so far. His dad, Peter was of course a major part of Manchester United’s dominance on the English game in the 1990s, winning five league championships.
Schmeichel’s breakthrough in the Premier League came 12 years ago at Manchester City. He was handed his Premier League debut in August 2007 by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and made a fantastic start, keeping clean sheets in his first three outings against West Ham United, Derby County and Manchester United.
Schmeichel was competing alongside another young talent in Joe Hart for the goalkeeper berth at Eastlands and ultimately, it was Hart who won the battle. Schmeichel made only another six first-team appearances before leaving Manchester City permanently in 2009. During that period, he’d experienced first-team football on temporary loan periods at Cardiff City and Coventry City.
He joined an ambitious Notts County outfit who were in League Two but aiming high with the shock arrival of Sol Campbell too that summer. He played 43 times and was far too good for the standard of football he was playing in. Schmeichel made PFA Team of the Year in the division and County were promoted to League One at the end of the campaign.
His stay at Meadow Lane would be just a solitary season as Championship club Leeds United snapped him up on a free transfer in summer 2010. Again, he was a solid presence and made 40 appearances for the Yorkshire side. However, like at Notts County, his time at Leeds was restricted to a single campaign.
Keen to find some security after plenty of club movements, Kasper moved to Leicester City in 2011 and it is a relationship that has delivered plenty of joy and success for both parties. His outstanding form in his first campaign with the Foxes saw him named the club’s Player of the Year and he was called up to Denmark’s squad at the 2012 European Championship as a back-up goalkeeper.
An ever-present campaign followed in 2012-2013 and in February 2013, he became the second Schmeichel to win a full international cap for Denmark, making his debut in a friendly match against FYR Macedonia. Although there has been competition over the years from the likes of Jonas Lossl and Frederik Ronnow, Schmeichel has rarely looked under threat in the Danish international setup ever since.
Voted into the PFA Championship Team of the Season in 2013, Schmeichel achieved similar accomplishments in 2013-2014 and this time, there was club success too as Leicester finally returned to the Premier League after a 10-year absence, storming to the Championship title.
The 2014-2015 season started well for Kasper and the team with a memorable 5-3 victory over Manchester United among the highlights. In December though, he broke his metatarsal in training and missed three months of the campaign. The experienced Mark Schwarzer was signed in the January transfer window from Chelsea as suitable cover but there was little doubt in manager Nigel Pearson’s mind that Schmeichel would return to duty when fit. He returned just in time for the Foxes’ amazing escape from relegation. Seven points adrift of safety with nine games left to play, Leicester won seven of their last nine games and Kasper kept five clean sheets in that period to ensure their Premier League survival. What happened next was absolutely extraordinary.
Schmeichel was absolutely outstanding in 2015-2016, barely putting a foot wrong and featuring in every single Premier League match. Leicester did struggle defensively in the early weeks under Claudio Ranieri but once he’d settled on a more defensively-minded full-back pairing of Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs, clean sheets started becoming a regular occurrence. Schmeichel finished with 15 and only narrowly missed out on the Golden Glove award to Arsenal’s Petr Cech. However, that personal disappointment was easily overcome by the team’s incredible achievement.
On 2nd May 2016, Tottenham’s failure to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge meant Leicester became Premier League champions. Amazingly, it was exactly 23 years after Manchester United and Peter Schmeichel’s first title success which that season was also achieved by other results going in the Red Devils favour. The Schmeichels became the only biological father and son to win the Premier League, as well as being in the same position to do so.
Despite rumours of a move away after Leicester’s success, Schmeichel stayed loyal and signed a contract extension in August 2016, even though Ranieri had brought in stiffer competition for him in Ron-Robert Zieler who had arrived from German side Hannover 96. Leicester’s form completely vanished but Schmeichel’s didn’t and he was voted Players’ Player of the Year at the club’s 2016-2017 awards evening. He kept clean sheets in his first four UEFA Champions League matches and the only games he missed were down to groin and hand injuries – the latter keeping him out for six weeks during the winter months.
Ranieri was controversially sacked in February 2017, less than 24 hours after defeat in the UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 first leg tie to Sevilla. Schmeichel was very vocal on both social media and in television interviews in the days afterwards, saying there was no plot whatsoever involving the under fire players wanting to get Ranieri dismissed.
In 2017-2018, he kept eight clean sheets, making an important penalty save in an away win at Brighton & Hove Albion when the score was 0-0 and despite missing the closing five matches with an ankle problem, he was Denmark’s first-choice goalkeeper for their 2018 World Cup effort in Russia. Schmeichel kept clean sheets in the group stage games against Peru and France and in the Round-of-16 match against Croatia; he saved three penalties during the match and penalty shootout. It ended in defeat for the Danes but Schmeichel’s reputation as a great and classy goalkeeper had been enhanced.
2018-2019 has been a tough season for everyone connected with Leicester City Football Club and Kasper witnessed the horrific helicopter crash outside the ground in October 2018 which killed five people including the owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Former manager Claude Puel confirmed his goalkeeper had seen some terrible things which didn’t need description.
Despite the overwhelming sense of tragedy, Schmeichel has continued to deliver on a regular basis for Leicester and is still one of the best goalkeepers currently in the Premier League.