Player Profile - Wes Morgan


The Foxes' Leader Of The Pack


Personal information
Full name: Westley Nathan Morgan 
Date of birth: 21 January 1984 
Age: 32
Place of birth: Nottingham, England
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 
Playing position: Defender 

Club information
Current team: Leicester City
Number: 5

Youth career
1995–1999: Notts County 
1999–2000: Dunkirk

Senior career
2002–2012: Nottingham Forest 402 Appearances, 14 goals 
2002 → Kidderminster Harriers (loan) 5 Appearances, 1 goal
2012– Leicester City 191 Appearances, 7 goals   

National career
2013– Jamaica 25 Appearances, 0 goals  

Leicester City defender Wes Morgan's rise has been just as remarkable as that of the team he leads. The imposing centre-back did not make his top-flight debut until he was 30, but is now captaining the Premier League leaders in one of the most incredible seasons the Premier League has ever seen. With his massive presence and thunderous blocks the Leicester captain is a vital component of a solid, well-organised defence that is every bit as vital to the Foxes’ title-chasing campaign as their prolific attack.  Morgan is a player who embedded himself in the hearts of one set of supporters and then, when he was sold to their local rivals, managed to retain their affection. After 10 years at Nottingham Forest, he returned in Leicester’s colours for the first time to hear his old fans still serenading him.  

Morgan was born in the Meadows, a district of Nottingham a short walk from the City Ground, where narrow terraced streets, built for railway and factory workers in the 19th century, were demolished in the 1970s to make way for an ill-conceived redevelopment that merely incubated social problems. Rejected by Notts County at 15, he was picked up by Forest’s academy as an overweight but willing 17-year-old. In August 2003 he was given his league debut. The fans’ first impression was of a big, burly 19-year-old who lacked pace, manoeuvrability and finesse. He defended with rumbling lunges and spread-eagled blocks that, in his early years, frequently lacked the benefit of accurate timing. He ended up making 335 league starts for Forest in the second and third tiers, picked by seven managers in 10 years, often in partnership with the more polished Michael Dawson. Gradually the fans took him to their hearts, and when they sang “You’ll never beat Wes Morgan” they were recognising, with affectionate irony, his combination of an absolute commitment to the cause and a seemingly ineradicable technical vulnerability. 

Still, approaching 30, Morgan must have wondered if his top-flight chance would ever come. It would, but it required a £1m switch to Nigel Pearson’s Leicester in January 2012. Like all moves to a local rival, it was controversial but it was quickly apparent that Morgan had done the right thing. Appointed captain immediately, his experience and well-nurtured reading of the game meant he set a fine example. The 2012/13 season brought him many plaudits and eventually saw him scoop the Club’s Player of the Year award just days after being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season. Committed and strong, Morgan made countless tackles and blocks for City as part of a defence that conceded just 48 goals all season – only Cardiff and Brighton conceded fewer.  In 2013/14, the same was true as Morgan featured in all but one of City’s league games to helped them become the third-best defence in the league and seal himself another spot in the PFA Championship Team of the Season after he lifted the trophy in May.

In 2014, Leicester ascended to the top flight once again and Morgan was vindicated. But after last season’s incredible relegation escape, this campaign is like a never-ending dream. Consistently excellent performances from Morgan have created the rock-solid foundations upon which the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante can build something beautiful. At Leicester, having taken part in that famous escape from relegation last year, he seems to be doing everything a captain should do, providing an example on the pitch and a link between manager Claudio Ranieri and the players.  Should Leicester lift the title come the end of the season, Morgan will be one of their most unsung heroes. Even fans of East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest, where the defender started his career and made in excess of 400 appearances, will be pleased for him. He’s just that kind of player and man.  

Morgan agreed a new three-year contract in July 2014, keeping him at King Power Stadium until the end of the 2016/17 season. And in April 2015, Morgan was named in the Football League Team of the Decade alongside team-mate Kasper Schmeichel. A powerful organiser at the heart of the Foxes defence, Morgan’s leadership and consistent performances has made him one of the key components to this outstanding Leicester team that is bound for greatness.