The Bedfordshire-born former Luton Town full-back joined City in the summer of 2019 after helping his hometown club rise from the fourth tier to the second in consecutive seasons.
Justin would become an invaluable member of manager Brendan Rodgers’ first-team squad at King Power Stadium, earning international recognition along the way with England’s Under-21s and building a reputation as one of the Premier League’s most talented full-backs.
Before his return from an 11-month ACL injury lay-off earlier this year, however, Justin had only played three matches in front of the Blue Army as COVID-19 regulations led to fixtures being contested behind closed doors for over a year.
Finally, after some minor bumps along the way, Justin is back in contention for the Foxes and Leicester’s No.2 is raring to go after signing a four-and-a-half-year deal on Filbert Way.
James Justin thanked the Club's supporters, players and backroom team for helping him recover from an ACL injury that kept him out of action for nearly a year.
“I feel great to extend my stay here and just get that certainty of my future,” he told LCFC TV at the breath-taking LCFC Training Ground in Seagrave. “It’s a great a club to be at. You can see this wonderful training ground and the way we perform, so it can only go one way.
“I’m just happy to extend my stay here and hopefully I can see [the fans] cheering us on in every game we have at King Power Stadium and all the away games and hopefully in European competitions for the next few years.
“There is only one place I want to be now and that’s Leicester City. They’ve put great faith in me over the past year when I’ve been out injured. It just shows what a great club Leicester is that they’re willing to give me a new deal when I’m just returning from injury.”
The past year has been the most challenging of Justin’s career. After scoring a stunner for the Foxes in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round at Stoke City last January, the intrepid full-back had to watch on as Rodgers’ men advanced to the final and lifted the iconic trophy in May.
I just want to cement my place in the team. It’s been a year of ups and downs. It went from starting the year in great form and then picking up the injury to knowing I was going to be out for a sustained period of time.James Justin LCFC TV
He was there, cheering them on again, when Leicester hoisted the FA Community Shield to the skies in August. Just as Justin’s career was taking off, with supporters and pundits alike taking notice, injury struck in an FA Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion last February.
It curtailed rapid progress for the youthful defender and presented an array of challenges – both physical and psychological. Now, though, Justin feels back to his best.
Reflecting first on his early spell at the Club, he added: “It’s been really successful for me. Obviously making the jump up from Luton, I’ve proved to myself I can be a Premier League player and hopefully I can keep kicking on now that I’m back from injury.
“I just want to cement my place in the team. It’s been a year of ups and downs. It went from starting the year in great form and then picking up the injury to knowing I was going to be out for a sustained period of time.
The full-back has now made over 50 appearances for the Foxes across all formats.
“When you’re getting right to the end, with just a couple of minor set backs with this, that and the other, it all boiled up. I’m just glad I had everyone around me telling me the right things just to get me back.
“There’s no good time to get an injury like that, but at least now, people know what I can do. Hopefully I can get back to that level. I definitely do feel back to my best, but to be honest, I can’t remember what I used to be like.
“This is me now, so I’ve just got to keep improving and hopefully kick on in every way.”
The support of Leicester City’s medical and sports science staff, coupled with a shared experience with team-mate Ricardo Pereira – who also suffered a long-term ACL injury – helped Justin scale the challenges put in front of him. Messages from the Foxes faithful, too, were a constant reminder of the appreciation the Club’s supporters have for Justin.
A player who can play on either side of defence, he has now already played as many home matches in front of supporters in 2021/22 than he did inside his first two-and-a-half years at the Club.
I got numerous messages throughout the course of my injury just saying things like ‘I can’t wait for you to be back’. It’s a good thing that the fans missed me and hopefully I can show why they missed me.James Justin LCFC TV
“[Ricardo] was massive,” he explained. “I’d seen the process he’d been through with the physios and the sports scientists. They’d worked with him before, and they had to very recently rehab the same injury.
“I feel like that was a big thing and, if I ever needed any help along the way, he’d be the man to go. I’m in a great place at the moment and just happy to be back and long may it continue.
“I’m glad to be back playing in front of the fans because obviously I haven’t really played in front of fans at Leicester too much so that’s a good thing.
“I got numerous messages throughout the course of my injury just saying things like ‘I can’t wait for you to be back’. It’s a good thing that the fans missed me and hopefully I can show why they missed me.”
On his 24th birthday, he signed a new deal with the Football Club to 2026.
Following Leicester City’s move into the world-leading LCFC Training Ground last winter, the Foxes have lifted major silverware, competed in Europe and, last autumn, revealed plans for the expansion of King Power Stadium and a development of the entire site on Filbert Way.
Justin believes the Club is poised to continue its recent success and achieve further glories.
“It’s just the spirit of the boys,” he said, explaining what makes Leicester City unique. “Obviously, the management staff is the top level. The training facilities are top level. The ground is top level.
“There’s only a few more things you could add to create that next level of team, which is what we’re trying to go for. It’s not just the team, the Club as a whole is definitely moving in the right direction.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of years, we can cement our place where we need to be.”
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