Sch­me­ichel much more than just the son of Peter

Le­ices­ter goal­keeper’s sharp re­flexes and agility were again ev­i­dent at Old Traf­ford

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - ALAN SMITH

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

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