If Leicester City win the Premier League by beating Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will have stepped out from his father’s huge shadow on a richly symbolic stage.
Peter Schmeichel enjoyed stellar success as keeper for United where he was integral to five titles during the 1990s, and as a result his son Kasper has spent much of his career being defined by his family name.
But there will be no need for comparisons should Leicester snare the first title in their 132-year history, and Old Trafford can expect the Schmeichels to party like it was 1999, the year Peter won the last of his United titles.
“The issue is that I am 29, I am married, I have two kids, but people still see me as someone’s son,” Kasper said with respect to his upbringing in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.
“People are surprised when I say I am 29. They’re like, ‘Really?’ One day, maybe when I am 40 and hopefully still playing, then I might be considered a mature enough person.’‘
Schmeichel is an indispensable and unsung star of Leicester’s season, one of only two players, alongside centre-half Wes Morgan, to play every minute of their league campaign.
Schmeichel, who is Denmark’s keeper just as his father was, is clear that the secret of Leicester’s rise has been teamwork.
“It’s a lot of players coming together at the right time, not just football-wise but personally as well,” he said. “We are similar age groups, a lot of us have played here together for three or four years.”
That makes Leicester the exception on a Premier League carousel from which players and managers jump on and off with dizzying speed. Unlike their opponents United, Leicester know who their best team is and how to get the best out of them.
On Sunday, a packed Old Trafford is again likely to witness the sort of attacking fluidity Alex Ferguson’s teams once trademarked. But this time it will be the visitors, with five of the top 10 quickest players in the league, forcing the pace.
A Leicester victory would be welcomed by Arsenal, seeking to pip United to fourth place and Champions League qualification. On Saturday the Gunners entertain Norwich city, who are aiming to avoid a return to the Championship after just one season.
With Aston Villa already down, Sunderland and Newcastle are battling Norwich to dodge the two remaining relegation slots.
History suggests one of the northeast giants, away to Stoke City and home to Crystal Palace respectively, may escape as a promoted side has gone straight down in each of the past three seasons.