Ben Nelson

‘It Shows The Club’s Faith In Me’ - Nelson’s New Contract Joy

After agreeing a new contract with the Football Club until 2027, Ben Nelson spoke of his determination to gain more First Team minutes for Leicester City.
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It’s been quite the journey for Nelson at City. Joining at the age of nine, he reached the Under-21s setup by the time he was 16 – the same age his association with the senior side began.

Playing for the Development Squad in Premier League 2 and the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, his qualities shone bright, enough for the defender to be selected in several European squads and be named Academy Player of the Season.

Now 19 years old and with a senior LCFC appearance under his belt, following two loan spells in the Football League, the young centre-half is into his 10th campaign at the Club. The longevity of his stay with the Foxes has heightened a willingness to ensure those minutes in the Carabao Cup this August were not just a one off. 

“It's a great feeling to sort it out and extend my stay here,” Nelson beamed, speaking from inside LCFC Training Ground. “I've felt it (his debut) coming for a while.

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Ben Nelson

The 19-year-old has signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal.

“But it was great to get the opportunity to break that barrier down of finally making my debut. They've always shown that faith in me since day one so it's great to be able to keep going and repay their faith.

“I’ve brilliant memories from coming all the way through the Academy since Under-9s. We had loads of tournaments, a lot of trips abroad to Poland, India and Netherlands a couple of times. Those opportunities were brilliant for development, playing in different places. It was great.”

One memory that will always stay with Nelson is his first opportunity to play on the King Power Stadium pitch. Fast forward eight years and he was back there again, making his way in the Club’s Development Squad, despite his young age.

Challenges arose in the form of facing senior opposition, something he would later call upon during loans at Rochdale and then Doncaster Rovers in the fourth tier.

It gave me a taste of it and I wanted to thrive and get there myself.

Ben Nelson

“I think it's great for the young lads at that age to play in such a stadium,” the Northampton-born centre-back explained. “It drives you on to want to do it even more and obviously make it all the way and play there for real.

“I feel like that was definitely the start of me playing in the Under-21s. I was 16, so it was a big step up from the Under-16s. There's a lot of pressure, but it was a brilliant experience and it definitely helped my development.

“Obviously, in the EFL Trophy you're playing against older players, maybe even double your age when you're a young one playing in the Under-21s, so it's great to play against experienced players and it's a great test for every young player, I think.

“They were both different [loan] experiences. Rochdale was the tougher of the two but developed me in a different way. Sometimes I wasn’t playing, but I had to get used to that as a young player. Off the pitch, I was going out of my comfort zone being away from home.

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Ben Nelson

Making his competitive First Team bow at Prenton Park against Tranmere Rovers.

“At Doncaster, that helped me out a lot. I played a lot more there and it gave me a lot of confidence to feel like I’ve done it before, so I could do it again.”

The continuous pathway for young players at Leicester City is there for all to see. An early developer himself, Nelson’s time with senior professionals, day in day out, will only improve his understanding of the game, he believes.

“My first taste of pre-season with the First Team and playing some minutes as well was brilliant,” the defender recalled. “Just being with all the players, letting them help me and lead me was great. It gave me a taste of it and I wanted to thrive and get there myself. I think that’s left me in good stead going forwards. It becomes easier as you do it more.

“You've seen there’s quite a lot of young lads given that chance and the opportunity to be around it, if it's in training or matchday squads, and even getting game time, so it's brilliant for the young players. The plan is to stay around and hopefully keep doing what I'm doing.”

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