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Kasper Schmeichel: taking the 'sweeper-keeper' to the next level

The Danish international has emulated the goalkeeping style not of his legendary father, but of Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.

Tony Marshall/Getty Images

As the son of former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, current Leicester shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel has had the privilege of learning from a legend.

Peter spent 22 seasons between the sticks making 777 appearances for club (mostly Man Utd) and his native country Denmark. He is considered one of the best keepers to ever play the game.

His son Kasper had a much different path to stardom. Constantly falling out of favor in his early days with Manchester City, the younger Schmeichel, much like his current club Leicester City, had to climb the ranks of English football to get his chance.

He then found a home in Leicester. In his fifth season with the Foxes, the Dane is closing in on his 200th appearance for the club. He is also moving up the ranks internationally and has become Denmark's first choice keeper, like his father before him.

However, when looking for a comparative keeping style, Peter is not the goalie whom Kasper most resembles on the pitch. Instead, it's German keeper Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich.

Widely considered as the best, most active keeper in the world, Neuer has become known as the "sweeper-keeper" for his aggressive style and risky decisions to play out of his box.

Through 32 matches, Schmeichel has kept 13 clean sheets. While constantly looking to improve his performance between the sticks, the Danish international has looked to add some "sweeper-keeper" elements to his game as well.

In an interview with The Times, Schmeichel described how Neuer's ability to act as another center back and the way he keeps the play constantly going is what makes the German so great.

"Neuer's so proactive it's incredible. Neuer's changing the way of goalkeeping. The bravery in making those types of decisions is what sets him apart from anybody else in the world. Neuer has taken it to a level where he'll chest the ball and keep the play going. The centre backs know he's so far forward that if anything goes over their heads he'll be there. I try to do that - quick off the line."

- Kasper Schmeichel to The Times

In Leicester's most recent match against Southampton, it was clear that Schmeichel was looking to play more aggressive. Although, it almost cost the Dane.

Sadio Mane nearly got past Schmeichel, who had come out to meet the Saints attack at the top of the 18-yard box. He was bailed out by the quick thinking of defender Danny Simpson who blocked Mane's shot.

There were numerous other instances of Schmeichel coming 20 or 30 yards out from goal to control a clearance or to send the ball back into the offensive half of the pitch in order to continue the attack.

For some examples of Schmeichel's "Neuer-esque" style, see his saves at 1:50, 2:00, 3:40, and 4:40. These are just a few times the Dane has exhibited his aggressive style of keeping.

With still a lot to learn, Schmeichel is quickly becoming a world-class goalkeeper and has been a very important reason behind Leicester's success this season. It won't be long before Schmeichel gets recognized as one of the world's best keepers, in a similar way that his father was in his prime.