Although he couldn’t save Denmark from their grief in the semi-finals, Kasper Schmeichel’s journey to Euro 2020 – via a shortcut via the EFL – is one of the more interesting career paths , writes Holly Hunt.
Originally from the capital of Copenhagen, the son of Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel landed at the gates of Manchester City in September 2002, before being first loaned to League Two.
It was for Darlington – coincidentally, the same club where his counterpart Jordan Pickford started in the semi-finals – that he made his professional debut against Peterborough United in January 2006 in a 2-1 win, right in front of him. from his famous father. .
His loan spell with the North East club was short-lived but a valuable experience nonetheless, having ultimately moved away from City reserves and Darlington recognized his undeniable potential early on.
Just a month after returning to parent club City, he was loaned again the following February to Bury, Darlington’s League Two rivals. Schmeichel played 15 times for Bury over the three months, before embarking on a separate three-month loan spell with the Shakers.
After a stint north of the border with Falkirk, the sniper returned to the EFL with the Cardiff City championship team in September 2007, shortly after signing a new four-year contract with Manchester City.
The keeper asked to extend his month-long loan with Cardiff, where he impressed the Welsh club, and eventually returned to City after Andreas Isaksson handed in a transfer request.
However, he was welcomed back to the Championship by Coventry City on short term loan until the end of the season and eventually signed for League club Two Notts County in the summer of 2009 for a club record amount after his former director Sven-Goran Eriksson convinced him to make the ‘best decision’ of his career.
But the financial burden of the keeper’s salary became too much for Notts County to bear amid a doomed takeover and, despite an encouraging first season in the colors of Magpies, Schmeichel agreed to give up the rest of his contract and leave without his unpaid salary.
From League Two to Leeds United, the keeper made the decision to sign for the Whites in the league, but his stint lasted just over a year, when they accepted an offer from Leicester City for him in the shutdown. from 2011.
It was with his most recent club that Schmeichel made a name for himself, becoming an instant hit with Foxes fans, winning Player of the Year and Player of the Year honors in 2011/12.
Twelve clean sheets in 28 games the following season earned Schmeichel his first senior selection for his country and a place in the 2012/13 PFA Championship Team of the Year, while also being linked with a start with the Spanish giants of Real Madrid.
But he remained loyal to Leicester and most notably the 34-year-old was between the sticks as league table tops Leicester won promotion to the Premier League.
Over 300 appearances, a top-level title and an FA Cup winner’s medal later, he had only one feat left in mind: a European Championship.
The goalkeeper put in an impressive performance against England on Wednesday night, making superb saves and keeping Harry Kane on the sidelines, and although Denmark were defeated, Schmeichel did not go unnoticed.
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