City win the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens

Leicester City's Youngsters Fly Out To Hong Kong

A contingent of 10 Leicester City youngsters departed King Power Stadium on Tuesday afternoon for the Hong Kong Citi Soccer Sevens this weekend.
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The Foxes will start a defence of their Main Cup crown with a Group D campaign alongside Brighton & Hove Albion, HKFA Red Dragons and Singapore Cricket Club.

Earlier this week, coach Ben Petty confirmed his 10-man squad for the competition, as well as handing the captain’s armband to young defender Darnell Johnson.

Two-time winners City will arrive in Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon ahead of their first of two training sessions at the home of Hong Kong Football Club on Thursday morning.

Among Leicester's squad is last year's Seven top scorer Josh Eppiah while Under-23s defender Sam Hughes and Zimbabwe international Admiral Muskwe are set for their Hong Kong debuts.

Development Squad

Foxes Youngsters Depart For Hong Kong

Leicester City's 10-man squad left King Power Stadium on Tuesday for the Hong Kong Citi Soccer Sevens this weekend.

“With the experiences of last year, the whole group is looking forward to the trip,” Petty told LCFC TV, after guiding City to the Main Cup title last summer in Causeway Bay.

“It’s been a really successful season for the Under-23s but we didn’t quite get there with any silverware so we’d like to go and finish the season strongly by bringing the cup back.

“We had a fantastic mindset last season [in 2016/17] after staying in our league a few weeks earlier at Tottenham and we went into the Sevens with some momentum.

“We’ve managed to keep that going into this season, the group are really focused ahead of this summer’s tournament so the players and the staff are really excited ahead of this year.”

Development Squad

Hong Kong Citi Soccer Sevens Preview

Coach Ben Petty and captain Darnell Johnson speak to LCFC TV ahead of this week's Hong Kong Citi Soccer Sevens.

Petty, who worked closely with Steve Beaglehole throughout the 2017/18 domestic campaign, is also looking forward to seeing how his side handle the unique challenges in Hong Kong.

“The biggest thing for the players is the experience of the weather and turning around the jet lag, getting on that pitch and performing,” the former Aston Villa coach added.

“It’s a different format with seven-a-side but there’s a real competitive spirit from all the teams and we’re no different so we’re going there to win.

“It’s Brighton’s first time in Hong Kong so we don’t know what to expect from them but we do know that they have good players.

“It’s a diverse group with the two local sides as well, who are used to the heat and the format, so they’ll have a good tactical knowledge about the competition.

“It’ll be tough to get out the group but we’re well prepared for it.”

Johnson, meanwhile, will skipper the Foxes this time around, picking up the baton from Hamza Choudhury, who has now established himself among City’s first team.

Last summer, Johnson helped England's Under-19s lift the UEFA European Championship trophy.

The 19-year-old was also a key part of Leicester’s 2017 Main Cup-winning squad in Hong Kong and the versatile defender is hoping to make it another summer to savour this year.

“Last year was a good experience, all the players enjoyed it, the atmosphere was good and there were lots of fans out there, so we’re all buzzing to get out there again.

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Darnell Johnson
Darnell Johnson

Johnson is a European champion for England at U19s level.

“It’s always an honour to be captain, regardless of the tournament or what game it is for Leicester City, so I’m looking forward to taking the boys out there and trying to win.

“We know it’s going to be tough out there - the sides are good, the climate will be tough and the format is always interesting, but we’re confident.”

Johnson is also optimistic that his own personal experience of playing Sevens football can stand the whole squad in good stead ahead of Day 1 on Saturday.

The Foxes will tackle Singapore Cricket Club at 3:40pm Hong Kong Time (8:40am BST) in their opening match of the seven-a-side contest.

Ben’s tremendous when it comes to his tactics and knowing what to do in various game stages so we’re looking forward to playing for him once again at the weekend.

Darnell Johnson LCFC TV

During what promises to be a busy first day, Leicester will also face HKFA Red Dragons at 5:22pm (10:22am BST) and Brighton & Hove Albion at 7:04pm (12:04am BST).

“In previous years, we have found it hard because we go from 11-a-side to seven-a-side but we do those sort of drills in training back home so we’re aware of what is needed,” he added.

“Ben’s tremendous when it comes to his tactics and knowing what to do in various game stages so we’re looking forward to playing for him once again at the weekend.”

Over the coming days, make sure to check LCFC.com for a host of features and exclusive video content from Hong Kong!

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