Peter Shilton

A True Leicester City Great – Shilton's Illustrious Career

Leicester City's 137-year history is dominated by illustrious goalkeepers – many of whom not only illuminate the Club's heritage, but are regarded as some of the best shot-stoppers in the history of the game itself. Peter Shilton is one such 'keeper.

The Leicester-born former Fox, who turns 72 today (Saturday), remains England's top cap-holder to this day. His astonishing 125 appearances for the Three Lions means no player in the entire history of the English national team has ever represented the one-time World Cup winners more often.

It's true that Peter, who attended King Richard III Boys School, was considered something of a prodigy in his early years, especially as he lifted silverware with Leicester Boys in 1965. The events of a year later, though, proved what a tough task it would be for the local lad to break into the Foxes' starting XI.

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Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton

He quickly rose through the levels at schoolboy levels and represented England through the ranks.

Late, great Leicester goalkeeper Gordon Banks played every minute, not conceding until the semi-finals stage, as Sir Alf Ramsey's England lifted the World Cup with a 4-2 final victory over West Germany at Wembley. Nonetheless, Shilton was climbing the levels, starring for England Schools. 

There was no doubt at Filbert Street about Peter's precocious talents. Despite Banks' dominance of the goalkeeping berth at the Club, Shilton still made a First Division debut at the age of just 16, keeping a clean sheet against an Everton side which would go on to lift the FA Cup later that campaign. 

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Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton

Peter Shilton's undeniable quality soon made headlines in the English game despite his tender age.

Matt Gillies, the Foxes manager, had a serious headache, albeit a positive one. The Club possessed two of the most pre-eminent goalkeepers in the English game, which the exception of Chelsea's Peter Bonetti. By sticking with the magnificent Banks, talented Shilton may be forced to leave.

There were certainly suitors as well. Gillies, the first Leicester manager to win major silverware, eventually elected to opt for youth, allowing Banks to depart to Stoke City 1967. Shilton was now the No.1. As history can now attest, it was a wise decision. Shilton would go on to become a legend in his own right.

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Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton

Peter Shilton would eventually break through into Leicester's team, opening up an avenue into international stardom too.

Famed for an all-white goalkeeping kit, a simply brilliant 50 per cent penalty-save record and keeping a Club record 23 clean sheets in 1970/71, Shilton made great strides on the international stage. He also achieved that rare feat of becoming a goalscoring 'keeper on a foggy afternoon against Southampton.

Shilton would eventually depart Filbert Street in the early years of Jimmy Bloomfield's reign, first following in Banks' footsteps to Stoke, before enjoying a hugely successful spell under Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. 

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Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton

Towards the end of his time at Filbert Street, Peter Shilton was a true star of the game.

Across the East Midlands, he lifted the European Cup, European Super Cup, First Division, League Cup and Charity Shield. In 1980, on the other hand, the son of Leicester was named as the IOC European Footballer of the Season. In 2002, he was also inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. 

His 125-tally of caps for England includes helping the Three Lions to a fourth-placed finish at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, while he shares the record of 10 clean sheets in finals matches with France's Fabien Barthez. He also played over 100 league games for five clubs, making a career-total 1,249 outings.

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Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton

European glory would follow for Shilton at Nottingham Forest.

Peter Shilton's standing in the game is indisputable, while he will forever be regarded as one of Leicester City's finest-ever players.  

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