Schmeichel much more than just the son of Peter
Leicester goalkeeper’s sharp reflexes and agility were again evident at Old Trafford
When it comes to comparisons with his father, Kasper Schmeichel can sometimes get a bit touchy. Understandably for a grown man of 29 years, he wants to stand on his own two feet, be judged on his merits rather than always be referred to as the son of Peter, one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever grace the game.
But Kasper is also intelligent. He knows that a childhood largely spent watching his father winning league titles forms a significant part of his character now. Not surprisingly, then, that make-up is solid. Just like his father, Kasper has turned into a leader of men, even if he does not tend to rip into his own defenders with quite the same force.
Nevertheless, Schmeichel junior has developed into a dominant personality within the Leicester City squad. More importantly, he has also turned into a very fine keeper, more than worthy of a title medal to emulate his father.
But enough of the family stuff. Let’s recognise his input over the course of this incredible campaign. Fifteen clean sheets in the league have included some excellent saves requiring sharp reflexes and good agility.
We saw another example yesterday in the draw at Manchester United. Trailing 1-0, with United looking sharper and hungrier than they have for most of this season, Schmeichel dropped down to his left to deny Jesse Lingard. The keeper probably saw it quite late, too, as the cleanly-struck shot had fizzed through the legs of central defender Robert Huth.
A big moment, that, as was the incident when Danny Simpson tangled with Lingard, and the Stretford End howled for Simpson to be sent off. Under the circumstances, it was easy to overlook Schmeichel’s part in this. Reacting quickly, he charged out of his penalty area to bail out his right-back with a decisive swipe of the boot.
Something similar came along in the second half, Schmeichel going to ground this time to knock the ball away with his midriff when a badly-timed challenge would surely have seen red.
This kind of intervention points to a keen positional understanding, a vital part of a goalkeeper’s armoury that may just have been furthered by a certain relative. Sorry, I said I would not keep mentioning that.
Still, it is a small price to pay for title glory. Once over the line as a celebrated winner, people might stop wittering on about the connection. For the moment, however, irritants like me will inevitably pass comment.
Kasper’s distribution, for instance, compares favourably with Peter’s. But whilst the United legend was famous for those bowls of the arm to launch attacks with a huge throw, Kasper’s neat footwork is capable of achieving the same.
In the victory over Swansea, he clipped one out to Jeffrey Schlupp that led to Leicester’s third goal. At Old Trafford, he cut across a volley from his hands to confidently find Riyad Mahrez. Jamie Vardy has also benefited from such accurate service.
More generally, Leicester have profited from a commanding presence that forms the base of a no-nonsense defence. On such foundations, titles are built.
Fifteen clean sheets in incredible campaign have included some excellent saves
Family values: Kasper Schmeichel is emulating his father