Robert Huth

Robert Huth: The Foundation Of A Fairytale

Robert Huth, whose time as a Leicester City defender came to an end this month, is unquestionably one of the most important players the Club has ever signed.
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On the day he joined the Foxes – 2 February, 2015 – his new team sat bottom of the Premier League table with 23 fixtures played. Sixteen games later – Huth featuring in all but one – they finished the season in the relative comfort of 14th position.

His loan move from Stoke City is regarded by many as one of the major catalysts in City’s top-flight revival that term. What the Club, with the help of Huth, went on to achieve was incredible.

But for the humble German, the last two months of the 2014/15 season saw him experience some of his proudest moments in a Leicester shirt.

“It means absolutely everything if you look back on it, really,” said Huth during his final week as a Foxes player at Belvoir Drive. “I never would have thought we’d achieve as much as we did. Certainly, when I first signed on loan, it was very much unknown about the Club’s future until we avoided relegation to stay in the league so to be here now with what we’ve achieved is absolutely awesome.

“I’m almost a little bit prouder than when we won the league because we were so far adrift from safety. At times it was tough to see where the points were coming from but all of a sudden, we hit form and we kept winning games.”

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Vital In The 'Greatest Escape'

Robert Huth's move to the Club proved key in City's 2014/15 Premier League survival.

A string of four huge wins lifted City up to 17th, just one point above the drop. However, those victories completely overhauled the players’ outlook on Premier League survival, according to Huth. They simply believed.

“Although we weren’t safe at one point, it always felt like we’d be able to do it with four or five games to go because the atmosphere was so good and we started to play really well,” he continued. “We were winning both home and away games, which we didn’t do at the start of the season. It was Sunderland away where we clinched it, but I personally felt really safe two or three games before that because we were just in really good form.

“I was thankful that I had the opportunity to play for Leicester. At the time, I had just come back from injury and there weren’t many clubs that were interested, so it was an absolute no-brainer when Leicester came calling, regardless of their position. I just wanted to play football, so I was extremely grateful when they gave me the chance to come here.”

Huth’s move was made permanent the following summer, for an undisclosed fee, from league rivals Stoke City. The central defender enjoyed his first full pre-season with the Club as he and his team-mates headed out to Bad Radkersburg, Austria.

Preparations went well and with 11 points accumulated from their first five games, an early spell of productive form gave City a huge boost in confidence under new boss Claudio Ranieri. What followed took the world by storm.

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Robert Huth
Robert Huth

The German chats to LCFC TV during his final interview as a Leicester City player.

“We very much started the way we finished the season, with attacking football,” said Huth of his side’s Premier League triumph. “We always had the pace up front to trouble teams, we just couldn’t quite work out how we performed over 90 minutes at the level where we could win games comfortably one, two or three nil.

“If we don’t, we’d just take a 1-0. But at the start of the season, we kept conceding goals. They were very high scoring games most of the times. About a third of the season in, we changed our style a little bit, got a little bit more defensive and hit teams on the break.

“Certainly, the home games we always were on top of teams, the crowd really got us up. I remember special night games, games under the lights. The first twenty minutes at King Power Stadium, I look back at it now and think, ‘wow, they were special, special times’.

“Most times we were winning within 10 minutes and that’s the way we’d try to finish the game or second half. If we were one-nil up, we knew they had to come out and that created spaces for us to go and score another goal and pretty much in the second half of the season that’s what we did.”

Two years on and City, alongside a maiden campaign in the UEFA Champions League, have registered respectable 12th and ninth-place finishes in the Premier League. The scenes of Manchester City’s recent title lift brought back fond memories for Huth, whose double against the new Premier League champions in February 2016 contributed to perhaps the most significant result of the season.

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A Seasoned Premier League Pro

The German made his Premier League debut at the age of just 17 at Chelsea.

He said: “Every time you see it, like recently Manchester City lifted the trophy, you think it wasn’t long ago for us, and that was a good day. But in football you forget good and bad things pretty quick, so I think it will take time to really, really sink in. It could be when everybody has retired.

“It was really remarkable but over 18 months from end of February until we lifted the title, we were the best team in the country. Although it was the one season, over 18 months if you look back we lost three or four games, in probably 50 games. That’s pretty outstanding by anyone’s standards. That’s why I am really proud of the whole 18 months.”

The night Leicester were confirmed as champions, the first team squad – now a brotherhood forged from various ups and downs – gathered at Jamie Vardy’s house to watch Chelsea fight back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur.

The entire world was able to see City’s heroes burst into celebration at the end of the game. Just as well it was on camera, too. Huth’s recollection was a little hazy.

“I was pretty drunk – from what I remember!” laughed Huth. “We watched the game at Jamie’s house. It almost felt like the game wasn’t that important to us. It turned out to be a massive game but we were still five points ahead, so it wasn’t like if they won that it would mean that Tottenham would have won the league. Far from it. So, looking back, although Chelsea did us a favour, we lost three games all year, we were five or six games ahead of the nearest team with three games to go.

I loved every part I’ve played in this team, whether I’ve been involved or not. The supporters have always been awesome and hopefully for the future they will keep being as good as they have been.

Robert Huth LCFC TV

“The odds were massively in our favour anyway. As it turned out, Spurs lost another couple of games after that and we won one and drew one after that, so very likely we would have done it anyway. Looking back, it was just the perfect Sky moment. The last minute goal in the top corner, the fight for Chelsea and Spurs and us being at Jamie’s house having a great time after they equalised. It was a great night.”

It wasn’t the first time that he had lifted the most coveted prize in English football. As a youngster at Chelsea, he won the Premier League twice under Jose Mourinho – a moment that Huth admittedly didn’t savour until the latter years of his career.

With a smile on his face, he continued: “I was so young, I was just learning all the time and although we did win the league with Chelsea, and I felt part of it because it was a great club and Jose (Mourinho) made sure that the whole team was involved, at the time, looking back, I was thinking it was just a medal because you’re young and a bit stupid and you think you’re going to win ten more Premier Leagues, which obviously isn’t the case.

“When we did it with Leicester, having been with the players that hadn’t played that much, they’re just as important as the players who have played 38 games, they really are. But at the time, you don’t think of yourself as that valuable. You just think you’re a bit of a spare wheel, but you’re really not.

“It’s a team game and winners of the Premier League, you have to play so many games to pick up a medal. I just find it’s either a team game or it’s not. It’s not just the guys who have played 10 games. You’re either part of a team or you’re not. If you’re part of a great team, then that’s awesome and you should take it in your stride and be proud of it and I am extremely proud of both at Chelsea and with Leicester.”

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'Thank You To The Fans'

Robert Huth has been a firm favourite of the Blue Army.

One of Huth’s best characteristics, perhaps unseen by those outside of the Leicester dressing room, is his personality. He can be strong in his opinion, but he has often provided balance in a team full of leaders.

“I’m easy,” admitted Huth. “That’s probably my positive thing. I get on with anyone and don’t really have any problems. The one thing here at Leicester is the changing room is pretty special.

“I’ve been in teams where we’ve been in better positions, certainly compared to when I first came here, and the atmosphere wasn’t as good as it was here. We were seven points adrift but everyone was happy.

“Other places, if we’d drawn at the weekend, then the whole week would have been absolutely miserable but it’s really probably down to assembling that sort of group. Obviously, the quality of the footballer and the quality of the person in the changing room is just as important. Over the three years, we’ve had a really good, solid changing room.”

Huth has shared the Leicester dressing room with some of the most talented players the Club has ever seen. His partnership with skipper Wes Morgan has been colossal and he was understandably honest in his answer when quizzed about his status as a Leicester great.

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Robert Huth
Robert Huth

Robert Huth reflected fondly on his three and a half years at the Club.

“I don’t play for recognition from supporters,” added the former Germany international. “Obviously, it’s great to hear but I just love defending and making it difficult for other teams to score.

“The whole ‘who’s the greatest?’ debate is one of those conversations that you have down the pub with your mates, but as players, I always really enjoyed playing with Wes. I knew what he was going to do, what he wasn’t going to do. He’s just a really good leader on the pitch and you can see what he did.”

The main stage for Huth’s City journey has been King Power Stadium. His audience, the Blue Army, have often been heard from the stands bellowing his name with the same passion he exudes on the pitch.

“King Power Stadium is just the best ground to play in,” revealed Huth. “The fans are absolutely amazing and that’s both when we were at the bottom, to when we were at the top, to now.

“You can absolutely bank on them to turn up and personally, I’d like to say a huge thank you.

“I loved every part I’ve played in this team, whether I’ve been involved or not. The supporters have always been awesome and hopefully for the future they will keep being as good as they have been.”

A Fox for just three-and-a-half years, Huth will go down in history as one of the Club’s most fearsome defenders.

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