Leicester City confirmed as Champions this past Monday is a fitting end to their remarkable season.
So many individual success stories have come from this team, with Jamie Vardy going from rags to riches, Riyad Mahrez being virtually unknown when purchased in 2014 to picking up the PFA Player of the Year, among many others. In fact, you’re spoilt for choice when assessing on an individual basis how Leicester have outperformed themselves this season.
Perhaps Kasper Schmeichel has been overlooked in this assessment. Might this be his bloodline bringing with it a higher expectation than those without a former professional footballing father?
Although Leicester have won their first league title in their 132 year history, Peter and Kasper have created history of their own by being only the second father and son to win the Premier League after Ian Wright and Shaun Wright Philips in 1998 and 2006 respectively.
Being paired with his father has been something that Kasper has had to deal with his whole career.
“The issue is that I am 29, I am married, I have two kids, but people still see me as someone’s son. They still see me as a child.”
Peter’s glittering career has set people’s expectations high for Kasper. People presume that it has helped Kasper’s career- being his father’s son. However, he has revealed it has had the opposite effect. Kasper has had to endure strangers wanting to approach and talk to him all of his life, not since turning professional like the rest of his peers. Hearing the whispers “It’s Peter Schmeichel’s son” behind his goal from when he was eight years old couldn’t have helped his confidence- Always playing second fiddle.
When I grew up as an aspiring professional goalkeeper, and an avid Man United fan myself, Peter Schmeichel was naturally a sporting hero of mine. Therefore, since hearing about Kasper turning professional, I was intrigued to see if the apple has fallen far from the tree. I took an interest in whatever team Kasper was playing for (even when he was with Man City), and was delighted when his Leicester side gained promotion in 2014.
There’s no denying that this surveillance started purely because he is his father’s son.
Therefore, it comes as little surprise the fact being Peter’s son has had “no help whatsoever in [his] career” as he stated in an interview late last year.
Current and former Premier League players are in the same boat. Shaun Wright Philips and Ian Wright are previously mentioned above, while Alex Bruce has former United great Steve to contend with, and Tom Ince is the offspring of former England captain Paul.
What separates Kasper from this group is the fact he played such a pivotal role during Leicester’s title winning season; playing every minute so far, making some crucial, match-winning saves.
Even putting this Premier League win aside, it’s amazing to think of Kasper as a regular for a Premier League team considering the start of his professional career. During his tenure at Manchester City, he was shipped out on loan to a number of lower league clubs and only given 7 starts in 4 seasons, eventually deemed as a surplus to requirements.
His journey from League Two and back to the Premier League is admirable.
Despite the legacy that Schmeichel Junior is creating for himself, he may always be compared with his father. Even a higher power must pair the two together, as they won their first Premier League titles at the same age (29) and at the same calendar date (2 May). Both were even confirmed Champions because of their closest rivals dropping points on that date.
Although Peter may never be best known as Kasper’s father, Kasper’s own success in football has made him known for a lot more than simply just Peter’s son.
Kasper will be presented with a medal this Saturday that will not only underline Leicester’s unforgettable season, but may be the start of him stepping out from Peter’s shadow and into centre stage.