Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall has ‘the fire in his belly’ to be Leicester City’s talisman

With nine wins from their first ten games, Leicester City have equaled the best ever start to a Championship season over that number of matches, set by Sheffield United in 2005.

With 21 goals scored and just six conceded, already there is a seven point gap between Leicester City, top of the table, and Preston North End in third place, but the gulf between the two looked even greater than that as three second half goals saw the Foxes romp to a 3-0 victory.

Once again Enzo Maresca was able to dip into his depth of talent off his bench to prise open the visitors after a tactical tweak. In the end they were toying with a side that had been unbeaten in their first eight games and had initially led the division.

Not many Championship sides could field four players capped by England, or have two £20 million strikers on the bench, but at the heart of Leicester’s success has been a homegrown midfielder who cost the club nothing but years of nurturing.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was left devastated by Leicester’s unexpected relegation from the Premier League. As a Leicester fan who has come through the club’s ranks, he vowed to become a focal point and a key figure in getting the club back up. So far he has been true to his word.

“That is exactly what I wanted to do,” Dewsbury-Hall told The Athletic after his two goals took his tally for the season to five, with three coming in the last two games. “I said it at the start of the season and I meant it.

“I am doing everything I can to be that (the team’s talisman) whether it’s scoring, assisting, whether it’s doing things in the game that help the team.

“That is exactly what I feel like I’m made for. I’m not the sort of player just to rest on their laurels. I want to be that impact player and help the team.

“Being a fan of the club gives me that one percent extra. It means so much to me because I grew up at the club and all my family are supporters.

“Every goal that I scored is a bit more special. Every win is a bit more special. It gives me that extra to keep it going because I don’t care what anyone says, in any league there is nothing better than winning games.”

Dewsbury-Hall admits the shock of relegation has given him ‘a fire in my belly’ to make amends, although Maresca believes initially he was trying too hard. The fire was burning too brightly.

“If you remember in the first game he was shooting from his house, he was shooting from everywhere.” Maresca says. “Now he is more patient when he is on the edge of the box and making the right decisions. 

“At the beginning he wanted to show everyone how important it is (to him) but in the wrong way. Now he’s showing everyone how important it is playing easy, simply, and we are very happy with him.”

With confidence growing, and not just in Dewsbury-Hall but the entire squad, it is looking ominous for Leicester’s promotion rivals, although Maresca has been guarded against any hint of complacency, actively batting away any questions about promotion, even suggesting the countless managers who have complimented Leicester after facing them this season and stating confidently they will be promoted are merely looking to put pressure on their shoulders.

However, Dewsbury-Hall says the squad welcome such pressure and even warned that Leicester are only just getting started this season.

“I love the pressure and I am sure the other players feel the same way,” he says.

“The new additions and the new staff are fantastic additions. We have great characters and personalities. They have come back this season like new people, so optimistic and enthusiastic.

“A lot of teams might come down and be feeling sorry for themselves, but that’s not the way I do and that’s not the way I’m seeing us do now.

“We’re looking to bounce back immediately and that’s the sign of good people. It’s a good time at the club at the moment.

“I hope everybody’s excited because we are.

“It’s been like a breath of fresh air. It feels like a bit of a rebuild at the club. The atmosphere is so positive. The lads are so confident and that just breeds success and it breeds a winning mentality.

“But now it’s about just sticking to it, being relentless. We know in this league, if you’re relentless, then you can be in a really good position.

“We are not going to get too ahead of ourselves, but it’s a great start and we want to kick on.

“We are only scratching the surface. We are not the finished article. We are a million miles away and that’s pretty scary to say when we’ve won nine games out of 10 at the start of the season.

“But the more you do it, the more confident you get and it feels so natural now, in certain situations. That is after just a couple of months. Imagine after a year or two!

“It’s a pleasure to play in this team. This is exactly how I want to play and I’m really happy at the moment.”

(Photo: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

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