Say the name Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall around Leicestershire and it evokes a real sense of pride around supporters, coaches and all those connected to Leicester City.
In Shepshed, the town on the outskirts of the city where the Club’s latest homegrown star grew up, those emotions are felt even more strongly.
Joining the Club at the age of eight, his footballing education had begun at Shepshed Dynamo, a local junior team who provided his grounding for what was to come.
Progressing through the ranks at Leicester, signing his first professional contract in 2017, he scored his first goal for the Club’s Under-23s side a year later, in a Premier League Cup victory over Southampton, aged just 19.
The youngster, pictured here for the Development Squad, has risen through the ranks at the Club before featuring heavily for the first team.
Crowned as the Club’s 2018/19 Development Squad Player of the Season, Dewsbury-Hall made 34 appearances in all competitions that term, once again a key figure for the Under-23s side as he produced a series of industrious displays in the middle of the park.
Continuing in the same vein the following campaign, Brendan Rodgers called on the midfielder to make his senior professional debut for the Foxes as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 win over Brentford in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round on 25 January, 2020.
Now time for a temporary move away from Leicester to show what he was all about; Blackpool presented the perfect opportunity to do just that. Although disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dewsbury-Hall’s first taste of the Football League was positive.
Featuring 10 times for the Seasiders in League 1, scoring four goals from midfield, that experience no doubt helped when offered the chance to join Sky Bet Championship outfit Luton Town across the whole of the 2020/21 campaign.
The No.22's exceptional loan spell at Luton Town laid the foundations for a successful 2021/22 season back at King Power Stadium.
After making 40 appearances for the Hatters, who finished in the top half of the second-tier table, the Shepshed-based central midfielder won a host of seasonal accolades, including Players’ Player of the Season.
Patient for his opportunity, but always keen to make his mark, Dewsbury-Hall was about to break through at his boyhood club. Plenty of pre-season minutes and a goal against Queens Park Rangers followed - the then 22-year-old was ready for the step up.
Enjoying a campaign to remember, Dewsbury-Hall marked his Premier League debut for Leicester with an away victory over Norwich City at the start of the season, labelling the day as one of the best of his life.
Things were to get even better as the season progressed.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall slides away after scoring a maiden Premier League goal in fine fashion.
On the bench for eight of the first 10 games, he soon emerged into the starting line-up, staying there for 23 of the final 24 Premier League games of the season. Fully equipped for the rigours of top-class football, Dewsbury-Hall featured 43 times in total.
His full Premier League debut arrived in December, as did his first goal – although it came in defeat by Napoli in the UEFA Europa League. Two months later, he was scoring in another European competition, on the way to helping the Club reach their first-ever continental semi-final. He would later be named in the UEFA Europa Conference League Team of the Season.
Growing in stature with every passing game, the 23-year-old’s influence on the pitch increased. His first-ever top-flight strike, against Crystal Palace in April, was a belter. And you could see just what it meant to him and the fans around King Power Stadium. This sparked a new celebration on Filbert Way, with the midfielder adding a little spice to Leicester’s game.
The customary ‘he’s one of our own’ chant heard at grounds up and down the country when a club’s youngster is on the field has been replaced with a more fitting tribute to Shepshed’s own dynamo on Filbert Way.
The Foxes midfielder started 2021/22 by lifting the FA Community Shield - his first piece of silverware at the Club.
Singing his name to the timeless epic of Wonderwall by Oasis, it has been given the seal of approval by the man himself, who even gave a rendition of the song during a media interview last season.
There’s certainly no looking back in anger on Dewsbury-Hall’s recent achievements. His meteoric rise from potential star and loanee to one of the first names on the manager’s teamsheet is testament to his own attitude but also the dedication of those who have coached and mentored him along the way.
Concluding 2021/22 by collecting the Young Player of the Season award at the Club’s End of Season Awards evening in May was followed up by winning the Players’ Player of the Season, an accolade which clearly meant a lot to the Academy graduate.
It’s easy to forget just how far he has come in a short space of time. Now a burning desire to hit even more heady heights will no doubt spur him on to greater things in the future. He’s set to be a Fox for many more years to come.
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