Marc Albrighton

Champions League Nights & Khun Vichai’s Tribute In Albrighton’s Top City Games

A blend of personal and team-mate achievements, as well as a win dedicated to Khun Vichai, make up winger Marc Albrighton’s favourite games for Leicester City.
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The No.11 joined the Foxes in the summer of 2014, and has gone on to represent the Club in the UEFA Champions League, as well as winning the Premier League title against 5000/1 odds in 2016.

Initially vital in a right wing-back position under Nigel Pearson during the Great Escape, Albrighton went on to deliver some brilliant displays from the flank in the seasons that followed.

A valued member of the first team squad, Albrighton has experienced many highs and lows as a Fox, with his journey reflected in the games he selected while on a video call with LCFC TV.

Off to a good start

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Marc Albrighton
Marc Albrighton

The City No.11 rounded off the scoring in a 4-2 success over Sunderland on 2015/16's opening day.

Having retained their Premier League status a year prior, Albrighton was eager to get off to a good start in 2015/16 under new manager Claudio Ranieri.

City did exactly that, with the help of Albrighton, who set up Jamie Vardy’s opener before finding the net himself in a 4-2 success over Sunderland on the opening day of the title-winning season.

“I remember sitting in my kitchen with my wife and my brother in law on the morning of the game,” Albrighton recalled. “We'd had a tough summer and I remember thinking this year we need to really do something special. 

“We need to get off to a good start and then there's always the worry first game of the season. Are you in good enough shape, where are you going to be compared to everyone else?

“I think the combination of all that and then to then go out and perform the way we did, I myself was pleased with my performance to get an assist and a goal. Everything just clicked into place.

“I remember sitting there when we got home that night just relieved and just proud that we'd done so well. That game always sticks in my memory. I guess with particularly what had happened the season before and the Great Escape.

“Naturally the next season, the main aim was to stay in the division. We finished the season before, we stayed up with one game to spare against QPR. Because we were on such a good run at that time as well, I think we won 5-1. And then we didn't really want the season to finish.

“We just wanted that to carry on that good feeling that we had in the camp. I think everybody was chomping at the bit just to get back going again. Obviously when we came back, it was just where we left off, we picked up where we left off and carried that on throughout.”

Part of a record-breaking night

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Albrighton celebrates with Jamie Vardy after the striker scored for an 11th-straight Premier League game.

During the same season, Albrighton selected the game in which Vardy broke the Premier League record for goals scored in consecutive matches for its sheer magnitude.

The fixture in question saw City draw 1-1 with Manchester United, as Vardy’s historic strike saw the Foxes collect a valuable point on Filbert Way.

Albrighton said: “I think obviously the game sticks out as the game for Vards (Jamie Vardy). He's made that game his own, that's all it will be remembered for, and rightly so as well.

“I think for me personally everything about that game, you go in, you're on such a good run, you're doing so well in the league, I remember just the atmosphere before the game.

“I remember walking up, it just seemed like no other game that I'd been involved in before. It's very rare that you get such an atmosphere in the warm up as what you did in that game.

“It was dark as well, it was under the lights, everything about it, it seemed like a really big game. Which up to then I'd never really played in many big games myself. I just remember so much about it.

“There was so much focus in that game that, with it being against Man United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, you knew you were coming up against good opposition and you knew that their fans would come in their numbers and throughout the whole game, the atmosphere was incredible and once Vards scored, it went up a notch and unfortunately we got the draw in the end.

“To have just been involved in that game is always something that I'll look back on and remember fondly.”

Scoring City’s first Champions League goal

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Marc Albrighton
Marc Albrighton

The winger has fond memories of scoring Leicester City's maiden UEFA Champions League goal.

As a result of City’s Premier League triumph, they embarked upon their maiden Champions League journey in 2016/17.

They got off to a brilliant start in Europe, and it was Albrighton who bagged Leicester’s first goal in Europe’s platinum knockout competition.

“That day was so special to me and for the whole squad, we went into it, I don't think there was more than two or three that had played in the Champions League before that so to go into it, into the unknown, really we didn't really know what to expect,” he said.

“There was probably people writing us off before the game, so to go there and get off to such a good start was fantastic, but I just think the whole occasion of the game, there's the music before, to experience that was incredible, and then for me to get the goal.

“I remember at half-time, there was people hugging me at half-time, and said: 'You've scored in the Champions League'. It never really sank in until after the game.

“The only regret I've got is that my family didn't travel to that, I can't even remember the reason. But they regret it more than me, but it was an incredible occasion and it started our campaign off well.

“I think the time I scored, it was just joy. I think you can see from the photos of the celebration, [I'm] just overjoyed with scoring a goal. I think the fact that it's come from a long throw in as well, I just think it sort of summed us up a little bit as to how we were, we're a good side but there's not many teams that score from long throws in the Champions League, so I think that just sort of said we've arrived a little bit.

“Leicester are here to do something special. I think just when you look back, you can play in as many Premier League games as you want, but I think when you play in the Champions League, you know that there's so many more people watching the game on TV.

“Yes, the Premier League is shown worldwide, but the Champions League is just massive. Any foreign players that come over to England, their aim is to play in the Champions League, the European competition means so much to them and being around so many players with that attitude, that made it that bit more special for me because I knew what it was about.”

A first win under Shakespeare

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Craig Shakespeare's first game in charge of the Foxes ended in a convincing 3-1 win over Liverpool.

Following the departure of Ranieri in February 2017, Craig Shakespeare was appointed manager, and in his first game in charge, with Albrighton playing 89 minutes, guided City to a 3-1 success against Liverpool.

“I think with this one it was just more emotion than anything,” he said. “A lot had been said and written and we had to go a few days with listening to the stories, and not being able to do anything about it.

“I think when the game came out, it was a game of just let your frustration out. Just stick together as a group and go out and just do people proud that you probably feel you've let down in the past.

“That's what we did, we went out there. I remember being close to tears with that game and just walking out, I was just so ready. I was more pumped for that game than I think I've ever been pumped for a game.

“I remember standing in the tunnel, I was just thinking: 'Get me out there' and then obviously with getting the result again and after you get home and take a few deep breaths and say yes, we've done people proud there that we needed to do proud and we've got the right outcome.”

Through to the quarter-finals

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Marc Albrighton
Marc Albrighton

His strike against Sevilla is one of the most iconic goals in Leicester City's recent history.

Just two games later, City were presented with another huge challenge as they attempted to recover from a 2-1 first leg deficit against Sevilla to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Albrighton capped off the success with the Foxes’ second goal in a 2-0 triumph on what proved to be one of the most historic nights King Power Stadium has ever witnessed.

He said: “The atmosphere was incredible, I think I've seen recently, obviously, it comes up your memories when the game was and I think, taking away the whole occasion, the actual game had a bit of everything as well.

“Obviously the penalty save, the goals, the sending off. Everything was included in the actual game of football. Along with that, there was some great football played by both sides. To get the goal was incredible.

“The penalty save, I remember celebrating that like a goal because I think that that just about did it for us. I think if that goes in, it gets very nervous around the stadium, on the pitch. And then it feels like your hard work's gone out the window a little bit more.

“To then see it out in such circumstances was incredible and that night will be forever remembered in Leicester City's fans' minds but also to our minds.

“As I said with the Brugge one, my family weren't there and that was really big for me because, especially my mum and dad travel everywhere to watch me play and I appreciate that so much.

“For them not to be there at Brugge, I know would have hurt them a lot, especially with what happened. So to then score in the Champions League in front of them with them there, my wife was there, my best friends were there, so I felt like I had to go over and celebrate with them.

“I know Drinky (Danny Drinkwater) was trying jump on me! I do feel bad because if I was being brushed off, I wouldn't be happy about it but I had to go over there and celebrate in front of them and I know that they're grateful for that.”

Three points in memory of Khun Vichai

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Leicester City
Leicester City

The Foxes applaud the Blue Army, as players and fans unite to remember the Club's late Chairman, Khun Vichai after the 1-0 win at Cardiff.

 

Choosing his games in chronological order, Albrighton’s final pick proved to be a sobering one, as he emphasised the importance of City’s 1-0 win at Cardiff City in October 2018.

It was the first time Leicester played since the tragic passing of the Club’s Chairman, Khun Vichai, and four others, and for Albrighton, nothing mattered more than securing three points in memory of ‘The Boss’.  

“I remember going into that, most people were saying that the result doesn't matter tonight, the fact that Leicester that are actually playing in the game is incredible from them,” he recalled.

“But I had a different view on that. I remember going into it saying we need to win this game. We flew straight out to Khun Vichai's funeral straight from the game and I knew all Khun Vichai's family were going to be there and I thought we can't get on that plane having not won and not brought the three points and I knew that they were watching from over there.

“We had been told that, so my thoughts on that were we need to win this game. That's the most important thing today. We need to get a victory here. We fought and we fought and we were much the better side on the day.

“We had a few chances that didn't go in, and then when we finally got the goal. So much relief and emotion came out in that goal and the celebrations, and then after the game, I think I've said before, that's the only time I really felt it meant more than football then.

“We've obviously got the result and we're on that pitch and there was so much more than football that was meant in peoples' minds, and to be stood in front of all the Leicester City fans and even the Cardiff fans were there, and we had people on the pitch as well that had been at the Club for so long.

“Everybody travelled whether you were involved in the squad, backroom staff, every single person travelled. I think that brought a togetherness that's within the squad and in the staff.

“But then when we went over to the fans, it then brought them as part of that, I think it just shows the family that Leicester is. In that moment, that summed it up. And then to be able to get on that plane and arrive in Thailand having done Khun Vichai proud, it was incredible.”

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