Foxes aim to emulate legends

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action during the English Premier league soccer match between Leicester City and Liverpool held at the King Power stadium in Leicester, Britain, on Dec 26, 2019.
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action during the English Premier league soccer match between Leicester City and Liverpool held at the King Power stadium in Leicester, Britain, on Dec 26, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Leicester players inspired to beat Villa, reach Wembley final like 2000 League Cup champs

LONDON • Before their miraculous Premier League title-winning campaign of 2015-16, Leicester City's shiniest piece of silverware had been the League Cup.

It is a trophy the club hold dear, being three-time winners of the second-tier English Cup competition after the FA Cup.

Marc Albrighton may be a boyhood fan of Aston Villa, their League Cup semi-final opponents today. But the winger is old enough to remember the last time Leicester travelled to Wembley and, like the winning class of 2000, he wants to be remembered just like those "legends".

On the possibility of a first Cup final appearance in 20 years, the 30-year-old, who is also relishing the chance to play his former team, told the Leicester club website yesterday: "It would be massive. I remember the team that last won it.

"What we've achieved in recent years is great, but we want to follow it up and winning this competition is the perfect way to do that.

"We have a real shot at it now and a good chance to go down in Leicester history, having not just won the Premier League, but the League Cup also."

Villa have massive injury problems; they lost their first-choice striker and goalkeeper in the Brazilian Wesley and Tom Heaton for the season after both tore their anterior cruciate ligament last week.

Key midfielder John McGinn is another long-term absentee after breaking his ankle last month.

But Albrighton is not reading too much into the visitors' lack of numbers because he feels that whichever line-up Dean Smith puts out will still be "a tough test".

Unlike Villa, Leicester can call upon their best striker Jamie Vardy, the top flight's preeminent scorer on 17 goals, to lead the line in the first leg after a three-game absence.

At a press conference yesterday, Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Vardy was "absolutely fine" as he spoke of his ambitions to surpass former manager Martin O'Neill, the architect of two League Cup triumphs, in terms of trophies.

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    Goals by Premier League top scorer, Jamie Vardy. The striker scored 24 in Leicester's title-winning season in 2015-16.

He said: "They were notorious under Martin for being good in the Cup competitions. We want to develop a new history."

Referring to their 4-1 league win at Villa Park last month, he added: "They are different but you gain confidence when you play well against an opponent. We have confidence that we can win there."

Manchester United and City are the other two semi-finalists.


LEICESTER V VILLA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'Foxes aim to emulate legends'. Print Edition | Subscribe