Kasey McAteer

A ‘Rollercoaster’ Season Of Progress For McAteer

Kasey McAteer sums up his journey from Premier League 2 to League 2 winner across the 2021/22 campaign.

Few players had such a varied season as Kasey McAteer last term. Starting with a goal on the opening day of the Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign away to Manchester United Under-23s, he ended it by lifting the Sky Bet League 2 trophy, with a senior Leicester City debut in-between.

Joining Forest Green Rovers in late January, he featured nine times for the Gloucestershire-based outfit, who claimed the league title on goal difference on the final day of the season. Reflecting on a whirlwind few months, the midfielder believes the loan spell was a valuable learning experience.

Speaking to LCFC.com, the 20-year-old commented: “It’s been a rollercoaster of a season. The start of last season, all my aim was to do was play regularly in Under-23s football. I didn’t have any thought that I’d play in the Premier League and the FA Cup.

“Going out on loan to Forest Green has been really beneficial for me. I’ve learned a lot from being in a side that is at the top of the league. It was a great experience, and it was a great spell there and we obviously won the league, so that was a great achievement.

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Kasey McAteer
Kasey McAteer

The 20-year-old's first loan spell ended with silverware.

“My first game was Tranmere away and you could just see how much it meant to the fans. Their stadium was full, sold out, and then being in and around the squad every week, that’s been really good for me to learn the winning mentality, what it takes the win and then everything’s that comes with it, so it was really good.

“It’s very tough, though. I didn’t think it would be that tough. It makes you realise how hard professional football actually is. But it was a great opportunity for me to play in a senior team and hopefully many more opportunities can come in the future.”

Going back to August 2021, he soon become a regular in the Foxes’ Development Squad, playing 90 minutes in 13 consecutive fixtures through to Christmas, featuring in a variety of positions and adding two assists and two goals to his tally.  

A good grounding for the demands and competitiveness of senior football that was to come, he soon received his first taste of EFL football.

Brendan [Rodgers] and his staff have been absolutely amazing with me for my confidence and for my football to kick on. They’ve shown interest in me and hopefully in the future I can repay back what they’ve given me.

Kasey McAteer LCFC.com

“It was massive,” the Northampton-born youngster explained. “The start of the season before, it was my first year pro. I wasn’t really playing as much compared to this season, when I started every game in PL2 when I was at Leicester.

“So, to get that confidence under belt and my match fitness together was really good and when I was with the Development Squad, I was improving every game, I was feeling fit and I felt like I really made an impact in the squad.

“I’d say that I’m a midfield player, but my first game I played left wing-back for the Under-23s, it was against Everton, because we had a couple of injuries. I felt like we did well and that’s another position I’ve added to my locker. It’s always good to have that versatility just in case you need it.”

Consistently impressing for the Under-23s, McAteer was handing his Premier League debut, coming off the bench in the 4-0 home victory over Newcastle United on 12 December, 2021, before also appearing as a substitute when the Foxes defeated Watford 4-1 on Filbert Way in the Emirates FA Cup less than a month later.

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Kasey McAteer
Kasey McAteer

The youngster was presented with a Premier League ball to mark his top-flight bow.

Hungry for more, ambitions of making a full Leicester City debut could be realised in the near future.

“It’s a completely different world,” he added, describing the experience of being involved with the first team. “It’s like the top, top level and Brendan [Rodgers] and his staff have been absolutely amazing with me for my confidence and for my football to kick on. They’ve shown interest in me and hopefully in the future I can repay back what they’ve given me.

“Two wins out of two, I’ll take it! It was just an honour to put on the shirt and step out in front of 32,000 people at King Power Stadium. It was a dream come true.

“I now just want to hit pre-season from day one, build my fitness back up and my strength, impress the senior staff and hopefully get a few appearances in the friendly games in pre-season. That’s my aim.”

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