On 30 January, 2012, when then Foxes manager Nigel Pearson secured his services from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest, many considered it to be astute business by the Club.
It’s a testament to the inspirational defender’s impact in Leicester that his role in the record-breaking Championship title success of 2014 is now almost overshadowed. For a man who openly admits himself that simply reaching the Premier League was as far as his wildest dreams once stretched, Morgan has become synonymous with one of the most magical and celebrated rises enjoyed by any club, ever.
Two years after hoisting the Football League trophy to the heavens, on 7 May, 2016, the big friendly giant of Leicester heaved the Premier League crown up into the sky alongside Claudio Ranieri after starting every single top-flight fixture during the Club’s greatest-ever season.
He was there again on Saturday, beneath the arch of Wembley Stadium, to join Kasper Schmeichel as Brendan Rodgers’ flying Foxes were presented with the Emirates FA Cup. Forever more, whatever Leicester City come to achieve in future, Wes Morgan will be the man who did it first in royal blue.
But his legacy at the Club is about more than silverware. It’s the hours spent at Belvoir Drive and now LCFC Training Ground, leading multiple generations of Foxes teams to surpass their wildest dreams – just as he did himself.
Following confirmation of his retirement from playing, as a sublime career comes to a triumphant close, LCFC.com allows those who know him to describe his impact at the Club…
Brendan Rodgers – ‘I’ll always be forever grateful’
The Foxes returned to the European stage in recent seasons and Wes Morgan has remained an invaluable member of Brendan Rodgers' squad.
Firstly, in terms of what Wes has given me since I’ve been here, it’s been immeasurable really. I always knew it was going to be important for my senior players and, in particular, my captain to be on side in terms of the vision of how we wanted to go forward.
He’s provided me with fantastic support. On the pitch, his career was obviously coming to an end, but he still played a very important role for me, even though he wasn’t playing every single week. He has a warrior sprit.
He really sets the example on the pitch for the other players. Then, off the pitch, he’s a real good guy. A lot of the younger players can go to him and talk to him. He’s very calm. In moments where there’s pressure or stress, he’s a guy who’s just calm and focused.
From my own perspective, he’s been a huge part of what I’ve done in this two-and-a-half years at Leicester City. His career as a whole, it’s been an incredible journey. I’d seen him playing when he was at Forest and came up against him in the play-off semi-final for Swansea City.
It’s important for captains to be selfless. They have to think of everyone, not just themselves. They’re huge influences for the young guys. You really have to take care of the team, that’s your job as the captain and he’s done that remarkably well.
He’s the type of captain who’s an old-school British captain, where they’re very inspirational. He’s a centre-half who leads by example. He wins his headers. He puts his body on the line. There’s no questions asked. He gives his all for the manager and he takes care of the team.
When he joined the Club, it probably wasn’t an easy move, going from Nottingham Forest to another Midlands team. There’s very few players that could make that transition and be loved by both teams, but he’s certainly that guy.
It was great for me to get to know him. I’d known of him for a number of years without knowing him personally, but when I arrived in here, I’ve seen what he’s given the Club.
I’ll always be forever grateful for his support during my time here.
Jamie Vardy – ‘He’s always worn his heart on his sleeve’
Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy both joined the Club, then in the Championship, in 2012 and went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup, as well as featuring in the UEFA Champions League.
I keep telling Wes to try and get 12 more months! However, as much as I say it, he just says: ‘No, that’s it!’
He’s been massive for Leicester City Football Club. He’s always worn his heart on his sleeve with everything he does.
You know exactly what you’ll get from him on the football pitch. He’s been a brick wall for the strikers to get past for all these years.
As a person, he’s exactly what you see. He’s not one of those people who lets anything get to his head or looks too far into the future about it all. He’s just a nice, down to earth guy.
When he gets on a football pitch, it’s a different story. He knows exactly what he needs to do as the captain and as a leader. Look at the performances of players around him, or in front of him, that just shows you that his leadership was rubbing off on everyone.
He was made captain at the Club after just six months. That shows what he’s about. Six months in football is nothing. For him to be given the armband that soon, it shows you what he’s like as a person, what he’s like with the lads in the dressing room and then, obviously, what he’s like on the pitch.
Whatever happens, you can rely on him. He’s an eight out of 10 defender. If you’ve got players like Wes, with their calibre of leadership, it’s going to pay dividends for you as a team.
He’s the one who always leads from the front.
Marc Albrighton – ‘A big talker, a big organiser on the pitch’
Marc Albrighton was another member of Leicester City's immortal Premier League winning side.
Wes walks into a room and instantly lights it up. People will want to sit on his table for lunch, or be around him. He’s a good person to be around because of his personality.
On the pitch, he’s been incredible for us. There’s been matchdays where he’s probably felt at 30 per cent of his best, but he’s still rolled out there and given an incredible account of himself and nobody would have known that he’s not feeling his best.
He’s suffered with some back trouble over recent years. He’s just got on with it when called upon. Even with this new group we’ve got, for the manager to be able to call him off the bench for the last 20 minutes of a game to see it out, he’ll come on and win headers and tackles.
That’s a credit to him at the age he’s at and the amount of games he’s played throughout his career. It’s no fluke. What he does on a daily basis, he looks after himself. He makes sure he’s in the gym doing his stretches before training.
I wish I had played with him when we were younger. When he was 25 or 26, I would have loved to have seen how he was as a player then. All I can speak of is the last seven years and, in the season we won the league, he was absolutely immense at the back.
He deserved to be the guy who lifted the Premier League trophy. He’s such a respected captain around the place. He’s one of the nicest guys – a big, friendly giant! He’s an incredible person and has been an incredible player for Leicester City Football Club.
On the pitch, if you ask Danny Simpson, he’ll tell you how much Wes was balling down his ear in that title-winning season! He’s a big talker, a big organiser on the pitch, and they’re the main qualities you have to have as a captain.
Off the pitch, he’s level-headed. He’s not one to say something like: ‘Right, I’m the captain, this is what’s happening’. He listens to the players, he relays stuff to the manager and he’s the link between them. He gets on with absolutely everybody here.
You won’t speak to a person who would say they’re not keen on him. There just won’t be a person who will say that. Everybody has got respect for Wes and would happily sit down and have a coffee and a chat with Wes. That’s just the type of person he is.
Jonny Evans – ‘Being captain is so natural to him’
Over recent seasons, Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans have been two of the most experienced players in the squad.
From the outside, before I came to Leicester, I remember speaking to Salomón Rondón, our striker at the time at West Brom. I asked him who the hardest player he’d played against was and he said Wes Morgan – straight away!
When I came to Leicester, I was interested to see what type of player he was and I’ve got to say, I was so impressed. I think there’s a lot of players here who blew me away with how much ability they have and Wes was certainly one of them.
He’s maybe not recognised for being good on the ball, but one of the things which surprised me straight away was how comfortable he was and how good his selection of pass was.
Obviously, he’s got all the physical attributes and his personality’s fantastic around the boys. He’s been captain here for a number of years now and he really leads by example.
He never gets flustered. He’s got a real laid-back attitude which allows the rest of the boys to stay calm a lot of the time, which is great. He’s not a ranter or a raver, but the fact he’s so calm gets through to the players and gives them a sense of calmness themselves.
Being captain is so natural to him. People gravitate towards him. If there’s any issues which need to be resolved, they’ll always go and see Wes. He’s not going to overreact about things, he’ll analyse things and have a think about things before he acts.
He’ll be greatly missed by everybody at the Club. His influence goes right through everybody. Senior players can find it hard to relate to younger players as they get older. They’ve got their friends and their friends might have moved on away from the Club.
Wes has got a fantastic ability to connect with everyone. He has a great ability to get on with all the age ranges. All the players speak to him and he gives them advice. There’s young players in this squad and he’s got good relationships with them all. Everyone will definitely miss him. He’s been such a link in the dressing room during my time at the Club.
He’s been a great sounding board, also for myself. He’s achieved a dream of captaining a team to the Premier League and now the FA Cup trophy. It’s an amazing achievement.
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