Wes Morgan’s rise to glory is a well-deserved Leicester and CONCACAF success story

Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

With Leicester City’s title hopes squarely on the line Sunday, the Foxes captain Wes Morgan rose to the occasion, thumping a header past Southampton keeper Fraser Forster. Morgan’s goal sent Leicester seven points clear atop the Premier League a year to the day the club sat buried seven points from safety at the bottom of the table. It was Morgan’s leadership that helped Leicester author a “great escape” last season. And that was followed up by the defender helping to lead Jamaica to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final over the summer.

Morgan’s goal at the King Power Stadium on Sunday came just days after playing two matches in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean and Central America, representing Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. For most players, this would be an extraordinary week. But for Wes Morgan, it was just another routine in a 12 months that has been nothing short of astonishing for the 32-year-old.

Few players have logged as many airline miles or played as many minutes in the last twelve as Morgan, who has had no break whatsoever from soccer. Morgan has played every minute of the Foxes 2015-16 Premier League campaign proudly wearing the armband after a summer playing consistently for Jamaica in two major tournaments.

Jamaica participated in both the Copa America tournament in Chile and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States last summer. While the Reggae Boyz went a predictable three and out in the Copa, they advanced all the way to the Gold Cup final, stunning the host United States in the semifinals. Just thirteen days after losing to Mexico in the final, Morgan was captaining Leicester City in the Premier League opener against Sunderland. Having been integrated right into the team without a preseason despite the presence of a new manager at Leicester, Claudio Ranieri speaks volumes to the type of presence Morgan has on and off the pitch.

Morgan is an especially unlikely hero for Leicester City. A native of the East Midlands, the defender grew up first in Notts County’s system and then became a mainstay for Nottingham Forest, the great rival of Leicester City. The Forest that Morgan signed with at age 18 wasn’t the same great club Brian Clough had steered to European and domestic success, and by the time the defender became a first team regular, the club was toiling in the third flight of English soccer.

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