[This series will break down each positional group and preview its expectations on a player-by-player basis. First up, the goalkeepers]
Imposing Dane Kasper Schmeichel has been nearly ever present between the sticks in his time in Leicester. For the first time this year may face actual competition for the no.1 shirt after the arrival of World Cup winner Ron Robert Zieler.
Here we’ll discuss all of Leicester City’s first team goalkeepers and preview their likely role within the squad and how their seasons will go.
Kasper Schmeichel - @kschmeichel1
The son, and spitting image, of the legendary Peter Schmeichel, Kasper has been fantastic for the Foxes, playing over 200 times as the unquestioned first choice since his arrival in 2011. He’s the club’s vice captain and a very important member of the squad.
Status: First choice
Season Preview: Despite not starting against Barcelona, the Great Dane (mk II) remains the Foxes clear first choice goalkeeper. A sure starter for the first game, but he will have to watch over his shoulder. Poor performance could see him replaced, but I wouldn’t count on it.
He’s always been a great shot stopper with a booming leg, but last year he appeared to make strides in the weaker areas of game, in particular claiming crosses. I expect another year at least as good as the last, with a defence as stingy as we saw from January onwards.
Ron Robert Zieler - @r.zieler
A newcomer this season after a £3.5m transfer from Hannover, Zieler replaces the retiring Mark Schwarzer as the primary backup in the position. Unlike the aging Aussie, he comes to us having been a number 1 in the Bundesliga for the last 5 years and may not be here just to sit on the bench.
Status: Waiting for his chance
Season Preview: The role of no.2 goalkeeper has improved in recent years. It’s now a fairly regular practice to see the backup in goal in all cup matches and we can expect to see that again this year, with the German a big upgrade on last year’s cup keeper.
Unfortunately, his own performance in those games will still mean little in terms of league and Champions League selection, unless the man in front of him struggles. He’ll see a lot more of the bench than he’s used to this year.
Ben Hamer - @BenHamer21
Hamer has struggled since his move to Leicester. He played in place of an injured Schmeichel in his first season but failed to impress. Mark Schwarzer was signed to step in, and Hamer hasn’t even been able to find the bench since. Loaned to Bristol City last year, but came back after failing to crack their first team.
Status: Halfway out the door
Season Preview: The 28-year-old still has 2 years left on his deal with Leicester, but his chances to play for the club may be up, barring an injury crisis. There has been little mention of transfer or loan away so far, so the club may be looking to keep him around just in case.
It seems unlikely, however, as he’s over 21 so would need to be registered in the 25 man squad to play in the league or Champion’s League. He was not given a squad number for this year. I expect a Championship team to take him on loan before August is out.
If a 3rd keeper is required, one possibility is Danish youth international Daniel Iverson, who signed from Esbjerg in January and will play with the development squad.