Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has lavished praise on Kasper Schmeichel ahead of the goalkeeper’s 400th appearance for the club.
The Denmark international is set to reach the landmark on Saturday night when the Foxes host Southampton in the Premier League.
Rodgers, who has previously described Schmeichel as world-class, hailed the mental strength of the 34-year-old in stepping out of his father’s shadow – Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel – and believes his dedication to the game and will to win are what has taken him to the top and made him an inspiration to other players at the club.
“He was always going to be compared to his father, who was one of the world’s best, and that was never going to be easy,” said Rodgers.
“But I think it really shows you how tough he is mentally. He was probably just known as Peter Schmeichel’s son but he has now earned all the praise for himself because of the career he’s had.
“His devotion and mentality has really seen him excel at the highest level. He doesn’t get tired every day of doing the right things and I can’t speak highly enough of him.
“He’s super professional and loves training and pushes himself to the limit everyday. He’s a great inspiration to the young goalkeepers, and the other players at the club, and he has some old school values, which I really like.
“His spirit is very strong and he wants to win. He’s very, very competitive. He wants to win every game in training and he takes that into matches.
“On top of all that, he’s a really good guy. He’s been a brilliant goalkeeper for me in my time here, and for other managers before me.”
Leicester resume their Premier League campaign against a Southampton side who arrive at the King Power Stadium on the back of a victory over champions Liverpool.
Rodgers said: “This is a tough game for us, but it’s also an opportunity for us.
“They are very well organised and want to play on the front foot and press the game and they work very hard. They have quality players and an excellent manager, and when you put all that together it makes them a very good team.”
Rodgers has been dealt an injury blow with the news that Dennis Praet will be out for around three months after damaging a tendon in his hamstring.
However, top scorer Jamie Vardy and midfielder James Maddison return to the squad after missing the FA Cup win at Stoke.
Right-back Ricardo Pereira (groin), winger Cengiz Under (hamstring) and centre-back Caglar Soyuncu (groin) are also back in contention and could be involved in some capacity on Saturday night, although Rodgers said their returns would be managed “step by step”.
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