Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki: ‘I Played With Real Desperate Desire’

Shinji Okazaki talks Leicester City's 2016 title win, English classes with N'Golo Kanté, ambitions to be a manager, and a fancy dress party in Copenhagen...

Bananaman walks into a bar in Copenhagen, the Danish capital. He’s joined by Batman, Mr Incredible and the White Power Ranger. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are there too. This odd spectacle becomes stranger yet when you realise who’s behind the masks. This isn’t a comic-book convention, instead it’s Leicester City’s players on a Christmas party in 2015. It’s the fearless Foxes, atop of the Premier League, stunning the world one weekend at a time.

Eight years later, Shinji Okazaki grins as he recalls that night out with his team-mates. It was still very early days for Shinji at Leicester City. Less than five months into his new adventure, he didn’t speak very much English at all. The Japanese striker, though, had joined a unique dressing room. When everything else is stripped away, football teams – Premier League or Sunday League – are just a group of likeminded people. And these were a band of brothers on the cusp of achieving unthinkable glories. Shinji was already feeling at home. 

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