Hammond arrived at King Power Stadium in 2013 with a wealth of Football League experience that he largely gathered on the south coast at Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton.
He enjoyed three years with the Foxes, where he won the Championship title in 2013/14 and then helped the Club secure their Premier League status with the greatest of escapes the following campaign.
Chatting to LCFC Radio’s Inside The Dressing Room podcast, Hammond spoke of the relationship he had with his team-mates and managers and the success he had as a Fox during a broad conversation with presenter Dan Bates.
Signing for the Foxes
Dean Hammond needed little persuasion to join the Foxes in the summer of 2013.
Dean Hammond said: “I was still at Southampton at the time. I just had a loan period at Brighton where we got to the Championship Play-Offs – the same year as Leicester lost to Watford, we lost to Crystal Palace. I went back to Southampton and I was actually injured at the time, I rolled my ankle at training. I got a phone call from my agent, and I spoke to the physio at Southampton, who had spoken to Nigel Pearson. I wasn’t training with the first team at that moment, but Nigel and Steve Walsh gave me a background of the Club at that time and what they were looking to achieve. I knew the quality of the squad and the size of the Football Club, so I didn’t take much persuading – put it that way.”
City’s funniest player?
2019/20 Premier League Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy is a popular member of the City dressing room.
Dean Hammond said: “It’s a good question! The dressing room at Leicester was fantastic. There were lots of different characters, and lots of people that played different roles in the dressing room, which was part of our success. I don’t think I can look past Jamie Vardy, to be honest. With Vards, you had to be on your toes. He was pretty ruthless in his humour and his personality – but in a good way. I sat next to him in the dressing room. He was great fun, has a really good sense of humour and keeps the dressing room vibrant.”
Pearson’s presence & honesty
Dean Hammond selected Nigel Pearson as the most influential manager he's played under.
Dean Hammond said: “I wouldn’t say Nigel is only the best manager I worked under at Leicester, he’s the best manager I worked under in my career. He’s a real man manager, he has a presence and he’s really honest with you. He knows the game very, very well and he can hold the room. There was no falseness to it. If Nigel told you you were playing well, then that was the truth. If Nigel told you you weren’t playing well, then that was the truth. There was no reason behind it, he wasn’t trying to motivate you in a different way – it was just brutal honesty. That worked for me and it worked for the players at Leicester.”
Friendships in the group
Dean Hammond celebrates with his friends and team-mates after scoring against Wigan Athletic during the 2013/14 season.
Dean Hammond said: “There was no magic formula, we just loved winning. It wasn’t like: ‘Oh, we’re promoted now, we’re champions’. The players just loved winning and the standard in training was really, really high. It was short, sharp and really effective, and that’s what brought out the performances on a matchday. And, we were good friends. There were really good combinations and friendships in the group. We liked to socialise together outside of the games, so there was no way the standards would drop. I seemed to get on with everyone. I got on really well with Jamie Vardy, David Nugent, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Ritchie De Laet – I’m probably going to miss some players out here and they’ll be annoyed!”
Grateful for praise
Dean Hammond joined a group of talented midfielders at Leicester City.
Dean Hammond said: “One of the most memorable ones for me, before the Arsenal game in the Premier League, we were playing Arsenal and Esteban [Cambiasso] had just come into the Club. I’d just started the season, and started well, but I hadn’t started that many games in the Championship. I’d been involved a lot and played a lot, but I hadn’t started that many because of Danny Drinkwater, Matty James and Andy King playing so well. In front of the group, he (Nigel Pearson) had just gave me a lot of praise, which hadn’t really happened that much in my career. He kind of singled me out in terms of how well I’d been playing and how I’d dedicated myself, how I’d moved on from last season and grasped my opportunity. It was just a moment for me where I was really grateful for that because Esteban had just come in and I didn’t know what my position at the Club would be. I’ll always remember that from him.”
Gary Taylor-Fletcher & Dean Hammond
Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Dean Hammond are pictured with the Championship trophy in 2014.
Dean Hammond said: “The initial thing was I can have a drink because there were drinks in the dressing room. It was really nice to share it with everyone. You get to see what it meant to the players and what it meant to the families, and you get to share that moment. Nigel did a great speech and congratulated everyone, so it was just a really nice moment where we’d worked hard all season, and achieved promotion. It was nice to share that moment altogether.”
Inside The Dressing Room: Episode 2 - Dean Hammond
Dean Hammond is the latest guest on Inside The Dressing Room - LCFC Radio's all-new podcast.
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