As an American Leicester City supporter who is firmly in the "club over country" camp, there's nothing worse than a second international break early in the season. Making it even worse, the Foxes don't play again until Monday, which means we have to go sixteen days without club football. While this doesn't quite achieve the level of "Geneva war crime," it leaves a gaping hole in my weekly schedule.
Last Saturday, was surprised to see me still in bed at 8:45 AM (matches are at nine in my time zone). When she tried to get me out of bed, I just mumbled "Why bother?" and went back to sleep. Not only is there no club football, but there's nothing to read or write about at the club level. The transfer window is good and truly shut. We're not playing well or badly enough to generate a great deal of news. There's just not much happening at the King Power right now.
That's no way to live.
I've learned to make do with other forms of Leicester-related entertainment, and I wanted to share this with other fans in similar positions. So, I've put together this guide for Leicester City fans in the U.S. (and elsewhere) for surviving the international break:
1. Follow the Leicester City internationals over the break
My enjoyment of watching England play was curtailed significantly when Jamie Vardy pulled out of the squad. There's nothing quite like watching Vardy on the shoulder of the last defender, desperately waiting for a ball over the top that's never going to come as the England midfield pass the ball laterally. At least Harry Maguire finally got his long-overdue first cap and looked pretty good in the process. He played the full 90 and came through with flying colors.
Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Adrien Silva (Portugal), and Shinji Okazaki (Japan) will be in Russia next summer along with Maguire and Vardy. Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark) reached the UEFA playoffs, as has Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland*.
2. Start paying attention to the Foxes' youth teams
In case you haven't keeping up, the Leicester U23 squad are currently 4th on the Premier League 2 Division One table. Steve Beaglehole's development squad knocked off Barnsley's U23s 3-1 on Monday, with two goals from 19 year-old Admiral Muskwe and a stunning, long range strike from Josh Gordon on his 23rd birthday.
There's a ridiculous amount of talent in this squad. Goalkeeper Iverson, defenders Knight, Johnson, and Pascanu, midfielders Choudhury, Thomas, and Hughes, and strikers Uche, Muskwe, Ndukwu, and Eppiah will be knocking on the door of the senior squad before long. Honestly, this group is good enough to keep an eye on even when there's no international break and thanks to the miracle of the internet, highlights from all of their matches are available on the club's web site.
3. Read Tony Bradshaw's Leicester City history posts on Fosse Posse
OK, I know this will sound like a little bit of self-promotion, but these are really, really good and you can’t get them anywhere else. Tony’s pieces are split between “Things I didn’t know about Leicester’s history,” and “Things I fondly remember and enjoy reading about again.”
Remember when Steve Guppy was called up to the England squad? Or when we all thought Peter Taylor was going to be a massive success at Filbert Street? How about the time the entire squad stepped aside and allowed Nottingham Forest to score a goal from the opening kickoff? If you can’t watch the Foxes play, reliving some of our greatest hits is the next best thing.
4. Support the U.S. Men's National Team
Very unfair that #USMNT have to play both Trinidad and Tobago on same night. No surprise they failed to qualify for WorldCup— YSN (@noanxiety07) October 11, 2017
It not often the response to a Gary Lineker tweet is better than the original, but...
5. If all else fails? FIFA 18!
Amazingly realistic models of your favorite players? Check! Incredibly deep and detailed game play? Yes, indeedy! A recreation of the King Power stadium so real that you feel like you’re there. Oh yeah. Wildly unrealistic player ratings? It wouldn’t be FIFA if it didn’t have those!
Speaking of the Peter Taylor era, Leicester City are relegation bound every time I’m at the controls. It’s incredibly frustrating, but that too is part of the Leicester experience. Now if only EA Sports would let me switch the team to those old Topps Tiles shirts when I get relegated to League 1...
*If you don’t support any and everything that Martin O’Neill does, I have to question whether or not you’re a true Leicester fan.