Think of some great professionals who have graduated from the Leicester City academy: Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker, Emile Heskey and now Jeff Schlupp; the winning goalscorer on Saturday to keep the Foxes’ unbeaten away record, which dates back to March, going.
Shoot takes a look at Leicester’s star left-sided player that may just be called a legend at the King Power Stadium in years to come.
Where did it all start for the Ghanaian international?
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Schlupp was born to Ghanaian parents, but moved to England when he was still an infant. Here he was picked up by the club that will have an everlasting effect on the left-back. He made his name during his youth days, travelling weekly up the M1 from Milton Keynes. Here he would rise all the way to the first team and was given a squad number in the 2010-11 season under then manager Paulo Sousa. After the former QPR and Swansea manager departed, his development continued under Sven Goran Eriksson. The Ghana international made the bench in a fixture in a 3-2 defeat against Norwich on a Tuesday night in March of 2011. His first taste around the first team dressing room.
What happened next?
Despite the achievement of actually making the bench in a Championship fixture, it was imperative that Schlupp gained regular first team football. So he made a move to Griffin Park and Brentford. Here he made nine league appearances for the League One outfit and even appeared in the 2011 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Wembley. When he returned he scored a hat-trick against Rotherham in a League Cup tie. From that point onwards he was a regular and even spent a week on trial at Manchester United. That move did not come to fruition – something Leicester supporters were glad about as a season later he was inspirational as the Foxes won the second tier of English football for the first time since 1980.
How much of a shock was his winner at Carrow Road?
Not a great surprise. Despite a lot of people doubting whether he would be able to adapt to Premier League football when top-flight status was guaranteed in 2014, Schlupp certainly stepped up to the mark with his flair and formidable pace being decisive in one of the greatest ever Premier League escapes. However, it was the 22-year-old’s first goal in the Premier League since New Year’s Day.
How good is he on the international front?
Impressive. Because of him being born in Germany he qualified for playing for the current world cup champions, and that was the path he looked to take when he was called up to the under-19 training camp in 2011. He however did not feature. So after being surplus to requirements in Eastern Europe, where did he go? The unlikely opportunity of making a run into the England squad, or Ghana? He chose the latter- probably the most realistic as well. Despite earning his debut in late 2011, he didn’t cement a place in the team until 2014 and this led to the defender being left out of Ghana’s 23 for the 2014 World Cup. Just over a year later he would score his first goal for the Black Star’s; against Mauritius in an African Cup of Nations qualifier
Why is he so dangerous?
One simple thing: his pace. Perhaps not the greatest defender, but he adapts so well into Leicester’s philosophy of attacking and counter attacking football. His pace and athleticism is so impressive, that the likes of Man Utd, Swansea and Arsenal have all expressed interest in him, and his key attributes meant he was awarded a long contract extension at the end of June.
Super Stat: Schlupp scored his first Ghana goal in a 7-1 win against Mauritius in June.