“It has always been a dream of mine to play in the Premier League and I have done.” Jamaican international Wes Morgan has not only realised his dream, he is also flourishing, making up for lost time even, as he leads unlikely title contenders Leicester City on a dream campaign.In many ways, Morgan’s rise has mirrored that of his club. It would fit perfectly well in a fairy tale book – Leicester battling with the big boys this season after last year’s near relegation and Morgan struggling in the lower leagues before making his top-flight debut at 30.”I thought the opportunity to play in the Premier League had passed me by. Everyone wants to play at the highest level, and it took a lot longer than I anticipated and wanted, but I got there eventually. I am enjoying it a lot!” Morgan said.He is today considered one of the most reliable defenders in the English Premier League, but it didn’t always look to be heading in that direction for the towering defender.Morgan was an awkward teenager, overweight with knees that rubbed together – hardly the model look for a footballer.He arrived at Nottingham Forest in 2002 after being cut from Notts County and spending a couple years at Dunkirk in the lower leagues.His arrival at Forest on trial was hardly an ‘arrival’ in truth, with then academy director John Pemberton admitting to hiding the out-of-shape-looking Morgan from the head coach for several months.The defender would eventually whip himself into shape and worked his way into a first team position at the club.”Getting released wasn’t nice. It was hard to take, but I remained positive and I got a trial at Forest, and that was an opportunity to get back into it, and that’s where it all started,” Morgan reminisced to bbc.com.He would end up moving to Leicester after a decade at Forest, where he had developed a reputation has a hard-nosed, studs-to-ankle type of defender. Exactly what the Foxes’ coaching staff was looking for.KEY FACTOREighteen months after making his Premier League debut, Morgan’s strength at the back has been a key factor in Leicester’s table-topping season.The defender is averaging 2.7 interceptions; 1.1 tackles; 5.3 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game to rank among the best in the league.But his focus is on the team and what they can achieve this season.”To be in the position we are in is an achievement in itself. Anything that happens now is definitely a bonus. People tipped us to be relegated at the start of the season, and we are competing at the top of the league,” said Morgan.”We are just delighted with how things have gone so far.”We have a real confidence and belief and know that on our day we can be as good, if not better, than anyone out there in this league,” he added.The Jamaican international has not forgotten his roots either and spends his weekdays coaching youngsters, perhaps with his mind on his own struggles at that stage.
‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netCJ Perez was determined to make up for his shortcomings after his pedestrian eight-point performance in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals kept him wide awake that night.However, his eagerness to make amends almost got him into trouble early after picking up two quick fouls in Game 2 on Thursday.ADVERTISEMENT Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames “We really focused on our defense. The team’s effort showed in the game and that fueled our defense against them,” he said.With the series going the distance, the Jawbreakers are looking to sustain this intensity heading into the winner-take-all Game 3 on Tuesday.“Our level of energy and effort should not go down. As always, we’ll do our best to get Game 3,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ “That was so frustrating,” said Perez in Filipino, referring to his 3-of-11 shooting in the opener. “I couldn’t make my shots. All I could think about was how I could make up for it the next game.”“I think I was just oozing with energy and that’s why I picked those fouls. While I was on the bench, I was telling myself that once I get back on he court, I’ll help the team.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownPerez dropped 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists and helped Zark’s Burger-Lyceum equalize the best-of-three championship series with a 98-90 victory over Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian.The newly-minted D-League though, gave the lion’s share of the credit to the Jawbreakers’ defense, which limited the high-octane Revellers to just 37-percent shoting clip. Fury back in boxing to ‘inspire others,’ win belts back Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ View comments