Wes Morgan became the first Jamaican player to score in the Champions League when he bundled Riyad Mahrez’s cross into the net against Sevilla on Tuesday night as Leicester City secured their place in Friday’s quarter-final draw.
It was an incredible peak in the veteran defender’s career, one that seemed at an early stage to be over before it had started. At the age of 17 he Morgan was released by Notts County due to his weight and he returned to university where he was studying to be an accountant. There, the coach of his university side persuaded him to accept a trial with Nottingham Forest, who gave him a month-long offer.
Then playing as a defensive midfielder, Morgan recalled: “The coach of the youth team hid me when the manager came around. He was worried that they’d let me go if he saw the shape I was in.”
The following season, Morgan embarked on a fitness regime that included doing laps of the training pitch after every session when the rest of the players had left. At the end of the year, he had lost 16 kilos.
The imposing defender then went from strength to strength at Forest during a 10-year career at the City Ground, going on to make over 400 appearances for the side. In 2012, he signed for Leicester, then in the Championship, and spent two seasons with the club in the English second tier before The Foxes gained promotion at the end of the 2013-14 campaign as champions.
Now a Premier League winner, Morgan will also have the honour of leading the side out in the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition.
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