On this day in 2012, Leicester City captured the signature of experienced centre-back Wes Morgan from Nottingham Forest as the Foxes began to rebuild following a period of uncertainty at the football club.
Having appeared over 300 times whilst becoming the first City captain to lift the Premier League title, it is safe to say the Jamaican has had an instrumental impact on Filbert Way and will go down as one of the greatest-ever Leicester defenders.
Super contribution in the Championship
After being brought in by recently-appointed boss Nigel Pearson, Morgan began his Foxes career impressively and immediately cemented his place alongside Sol Bamba at the heart of the back four. City finished the season with a string of fine defensive performances and Morgan was rewarded with the captain’s armband at the start of 2012-13.
The defender scored his first Leicester goal in a 2-0 win over Peterborough United at the beginning of the new campaign and continued to make an impact as he was nominated for the Championship Player of the Month in September. Despite narrowly missing out on promotion after losing against Watford in the play-offs, City went one better the following season.
The ex-Forest stalwart formed a formidable partnership with Liam Moore as the Foxes recorded the third-meanest defence in the division and romped to the title with a club-record 102 points. Morgan featured in all but one of their league matches that season and earned a new three-year deal as they moved into life in the Premier League.
Adapting as a Premier League player and lifting the title
Many Leicester fans wondered how the club would adapt to top-flight football, and although they made a fine start, City went onto struggle. After sitting at the foot of the table going into April, the Foxes won seven of their final nine matches and climbed out of trouble and Morgan was a key part of that. Pearson’s men kept five clean sheets in that period and the defender also chipped in with a crucial goal in a crunch victory at home to Newcastle United.
A potential factor in that up-turn of form was the signing of Robert Huth and the pair were vital to their project moving into the famous 2015-16 season. Despite not keeping a shut out in the league until October, Leicester looked more assured at the back.
But as a whole, City were excellent and were heading into a position which the club hadn’t seen before. Sitting at the top moving into the latter stages of the campaign, the Foxes went on a run of conceding just five times in their final 13 games on route to lifting the Premier League title.
Although Morgan was a reliable force in defence, he proved to be a threat going forward too after netting two vital goals in the run-in. He scored the winner against Southampton and the all-important leveller at Manchester United as they were confirmed as champions a day later.
At the end of season awards, Morgan, alongside four other Leicester players were named in the PFA Team of the Year which was richly deserved for his efforts.
Life after winning the league
It proved to be a tough season after for the Foxes in the league, but they were impressing in their first-ever Champions League campaign. However, Morgan created history by scoring the first in a 2-0 victory over Sevilla while producing a rock-solid display to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
After the signing of Harry Maguire in 2017 and then Jonny Evans a year later, Morgan started to find his game time limited as every season passed. Despite starting less games, he was a still a key figure amongst the squad and proved to be reliable when he did feature. This was typified when the centre-back came into the side at the start of Brendan Rodgers' reign in charge and scored in back-to-back matches, including the winner at Burnley.
Morgan signed a new one-year contract in June 2020 just before the re-start of the season but has played in just six league matches since then. With his current deal finishing at the end of the campaign, no matter what happens, he will be remembered as the one who leaded Leicester to win the top-flight in 2016. A real club legend and no-one can take that off him.