Kasper Peter Schmeichel (Danish pronunciation: [ˈsmɑɪ̯ˀɡ̊l̩]; born 5 November 1986) is a Danish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Leicester City and the Denmark national team. He is the son of former Manchester United and Danish international goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.
Schmeichel began his career with Manchester City, but he had loan spells with Darlington, Bury and Falkirk before he made his Manchester City debut. Although Schmeichel appeared to have made the City number 1 jersey his own at the start of the 2007–08 season, the emergence of Joe Hart resulted in Schmeichel being loaned to Cardiff City. The signing of Republic of Ireland international Shay Given in January 2009 meant that Schmeichel fell even further down the pecking order at City, and in August 2009, he was allowed to link up with former manager Sven-Göran Eriksson at Notts County. He spent only one season with the Magpies as, while it was a very successful one for the club and the player himself, changes to the club's financial position made his departure necessary and his contract was terminated by mutual consent. He joined Leeds United in May 2010, but again, his tenure at the club would only last one season before he was the subject of a transfer to Leicester City, where he would again work under Eriksson. Schmeichel has gone on to play over 230 competitive games for Leicester, winning the Championship in 2014 and the Premier League two years later.
He played 17 games for the Denmark national under-21 team. Schmeichel was called up to the Denmark national team for the first time against Iceland on 13 May 2011, and was part of their squad at UEFA Euro 2012, but did not make his senior debut until 2013.
Born in Copenhagen, Schmeichel joined Manchester City in September 2002 on a long-term contract, which covered schoolboy, scholar and professional terms. He joined League Two side Darlington on a loan deal in January 2006, where he made his professional first team debut against Peterborough United at the 96.6 TFM Arena on 14 January 2006. Darlington won the game 2–1, with Schmeichel conceding a goal to Peterborough striker James Quinn. He gained his first clean sheet three days later against Grimsby Town. He made two further appearances before returning to Manchester City.
One month after returning to Manchester City he was loaned out again, this time to Bury in February, where he made 15 appearances in a three-month loan spell. He returned to Bury for a further three months the following season.
Schmeichel joined Scottish Premier League side Falkirk on loan from January 2007 until the end of the 2006–07 season. He was named man of the match against Rangers on 18 February 2007. He also saved a Craig Beattie penalty in a 1-0 win over Celtic on 18 March 2007. He revealed in May he would have liked his loan at Falkirk extended, and Falkirk expressed an interest in signing him.
Schmeichel made his Manchester City debut against West Ham United in August 2007. He played against City's rivals and his boyhood team Manchester United on 19 August 2007 and kept a clean sheet in City's 1–0 home win. Schmeichel saved a penalty from Arsenal's Robin van Persie on 25 August 2007 at the Emirates Stadium. Despite City losing 1–0 to Arsenal he was named man of the match. He played the first seven of Manchester City's games in the 2007–08 Premier League, keeping clean sheets against Manchester United, West Ham, Aston Villa and Derby County, conceding only five goals.
He signed a new four-year deal with City in September 2007. This was then followed up with an agreement to go on a one-month loan with Championship side Cardiff City on 25 October 2007. He made his debut for Cardiff on 27 October 2007 in a 1–1 draw with Scunthorpe United. He was named 2007 Danish Under-21 Talent of the Year.
Towards the end of the loan spell, Schmeichel requested that he would be allowed to stay on at Cardiff for a longer period and on 22 November, the loan spell was extended until the new year, with manager Sven-Göran Eriksson stating that he could possibly stay at the club for the rest of the season providing Manchester City do not suffer an injury crisis. After Eriksson named Joe Hart as the number one goalkeeper at Manchester City, however, Andreas Isaksson requested a transfer. This meant that Eriksson would not allow Cardiff to keep Schmeichel after his initial loan period ended on 2 January. On 31 December, Eriksson threw Cardiff a lifeline by opening talks for Schmeichel to stay at Ninian Park. Schmeichel would be allowed to stay for two more matches should Isaksson not move until late in the January transfer window. Schmeichel had stated he would like to play for Cardiff again in the future. Schmeichel, however, returned to Eastlands the day after his initial loan expired.
He joined Coventry City on loan until the end of the season on 13 March. Towards the end of the season, his father, Peter Schmeichel, commented during a TV interview that his son was not happy at Manchester City and was set to leave following the end of the season.
Despite wanting to leave, Schmeichel returned to the City of Manchester Stadium at the end of the season and changed to the number 16 shirt. He repeatedly stated that he wanted to leave City and regretted signing a four-year contract.
On 16 November, Schmeichel entered a game as a substitute after Joe Hart injured his ankle in the 14th minute. City went on to a 2–2 result with Hull City. In December 2008, Schmeichel played his last game for Manchester City in a UEFA Cup match against Racing de Santander. On 4 January 2009, he stated in the Daily Mail that he was ready to quit the club after falling down the pecking order at Eastlands.
On 14 August 2009, Schmeichel signed for League Two side Notts County in a deal that is believed to have broken the club's previous transfer record. The transfer reunited Schmeichel with his former Manchester City manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson, who had recently been appointed director of football for Notts. He was the highest paid player at the club, earning ₤1 million annually. He made his debut on 22 August and kept a clean sheet in the side's 3–0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge. In September 2009, Schmeichel almost scored with an audacious overhead kick against Morecambe when he came up from a corner late on in the game.
A fine string of performances in October earned Schmeichel the Player of the Month award. During Schmeichel's stay at The Magpies, the club conceded only 0.67 goals per League 2 match (29 goals conceded in 43 league appearances). Schmeichel's clean-sheets-to-game-ratio at Notts County was an impressive 55.8 percent (24 out of 43 league appearances). On 27 April, Schmeichel and Notts County secured the 2009–10 League Two trophy and promotion for the Football League One with a 5–0 win against already relegated Darlington. Shortly before the game, it was announced that Notts County agreed to release Schmeichel at the end of the season despite having four years left on his contract. The reasoning behind this was financial: Schmeichel earned a reported £15,000 per week, having been signed during the brief ownership period of high-spending Munto Finance in the summer 2009. Schmeichel agreed to forgo all his future wages, something which chairman Ray Trew described as "a huge concession by such a young man".
On 27 May 2010, having been linked with both Premier League and Bundesliga clubs, Schmeichel signed a two-year contract with Leeds United, joining the club on 1 July 2010. In the 2010–11 season squad number announcement, Schmeichel was given the number 1 shirt at Leeds. After much speculation during the pre-season over who would be Leeds' first choice goalkeeper for the forthcoming season, it was Schmeichel who was given the nod ahead of Shane Higgs. He made his debut for the club on Saturday 7 August 2010 in Leeds' opening Football League Championship match against Derby County. Despite Leeds losing 2–1, Schmeichel put in an impressive performance, making several crucial saves during the match. After a string of impressive games for Leeds, Schmeichel was nominated for the August Championship Player of the Month award, but lost out to Queens Park Rangers winger Adel Taarabt. Schmeichel, however, did win Sky Sports Championship Player of the Month award for August.
After picking up a tendon injury in his foot, Schmeichel missed the game against Swansea City and was ruled out of Leeds' next few games. While out injured, Schmeichel appeared on Soccer AM as one of the guests on the show. After just under two months out, Schmeichel returned to the Leeds starting line-up against Cardiff City. He was set to play against Coventry City on 6 November, but due to the birth of his first child the night before, he missed the game.
On 8 January 2011, Schmeichel helped Leeds earn a 1–1 draw against Arsenal in the FA Cup Third Round match at the Emirates Stadium. After the match, Arsenal captain Cesc Fàbregas commented that Schmeichel should have received the match ball for his performance. Although Leeds lost the replay 3–1, Schmeichel produced another impressive display (nearly scoring himself via a header) and he was subsequently named player of the FA Cup Third Round.
On 20 June 2011, Leeds announced they had accepted an undisclosed bid for him from Leicester City. With Schmeichel wanting to stay at Leeds for the remainder of his contract, he admitted that the decision to sell him was a real shock. Leeds claimed that they felt they wanted to strengthen the goalkeeping position to replace Schmeichel due to the poor goals against ratio.
On 27 June 2011, Schmeichel was officially confirmed as a Leicester player, signing a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee that reunited him for a second time with his former Manchester City and Notts County manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson.
In the first month of the season, Schmeichel was shown a seemingly needless red card in the 79th minute of Leicester's away game to Nottingham Forest on 20 August 2011 after receiving two yellow cards for "unsporting conduct". He received the first card for moving the ball from the penalty spot as Forest's Lewis McGugan was about to take a kick, then received his second for throwing the ball away after the spot kick was successfully converted. After the match, Schmeichel apologized, claiming his back was turned to the referee so did not know he had received the first of the yellow cards. "I didn't know I had been booked as I had my back to the ref otherwise I would never have done that," he said on his personal Twitter page. Despite this, Schmeichel's performances for Leicester quickly began earning him plaudits, with his then manager Sven-Göran Eriksson comparing him with England number 1 goalkeeper Joe Hart, and teammate and former England international Paul Konchesky describing him as "one of the best [goalkeepers] he has ever played with". A short-distant reaction save against Portsmouth in November 2011, in particular, earnt Schmeichel praise and was described by Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton as "one of the best saves I have seen in a very long time". and by Leicester manager Nigel Pearson as "a world-class, outstanding save and was very important at that point of the game".
Schmeichel played a total of 52 games overall, making 17 clean sheets and saving four penalties. His performances in the 2011–12 season earned him the club's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards on 30 April.
Schmeichel's form in the first half of the 2012–13 season surpassed that of the previous season, keeping 12 clean sheets in 28 games, the most in the league as the Foxes sat second in the table, such performances earning him links with La Liga giants Real Madrid and also leading to his first senior Denmark cap. A particular highlight was a spectacular save against Blackburn Rovers in February. On 16 April 2013, he made his 100th Leicester appearance in a 3–2 win over Bolton Wanderers. Schmeichel's performances earned him a place in the 2012–13 Championship PFA Team of the Year, alongside club captain Wes Morgan.
During the 2013–14 season, Schmeichel kept nine clean sheets during a 19-game unbeaten run spanning from December to April to help guarantee Leicester promotion from the Championship with six games to spare. Schmeichel's high quality performances once again lead to him being courted by some of world football's giants, with both Manchester United and Milan being linked with moves for the Danish international during the January transfer window.
In March, TV footage appeared to support Schmeichel's claim that he had scored what would have been the first goal of his career, when Leicester equalised, in injury time, against Yeovil Town. However, the match officials ruled that his header had not crossed the line and the goal was officially credited to Chris Wood, who followed up to put the ball in the net.
At the end of the 2013–14 season, it was announced that Schmeichel had signed a four-year contract extension until the summer of 2018 with Leicester.
Schmeichel remained the first choice goalkeeper for Leicester's return to the Premier League, including playing the full 90 minutes in the 5–3 victory against Manchester United on 21 September 2014. In December 2014, Schmeichel suffered a broken metatarsal in training, ruling the Dane out for at least a month. While he was out, Leicester signed Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer as a replacement. Schmeichel eventually returned from injury on 21 March 2015, and beat Schwarzer to play in the 4–3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Clean sheets against Swansea City and Burnley as Leicester won four out of five games in April earned Schmeichel a nomination for the Premier League Player of the Month award. After securing Premier League safety following a goalless draw with Sunderland on 16 May, Schmeichel stated his belief that manager Nigel Pearson should win Manager of the Season and that Pearson is the best manager Schmeichel has played for. Pearson, however, was sacked in the off-season.
Under Pearson's replacement, Claudio Ranieri, Leicester sat top of the table on Christmas Day. Despite their great start, the team did not keep a clean sheet in their first nine games, prompting Ranieri to offer to buy the squad pizza for their first. The team finally managed their first clean sheet of the season in their tenth game, against Crystal Palace. The team improved defensively, and Schmeichel kept his 12th clean sheet of the season in the reverse fixture against Palace on 19 March. On 2 May 2016, he won the Premier League title at 29 years of age, the same age and same calendar day when his father won Manchester United's first such title in 1993. On both occasions, the respective teams (Manchester United and Leicester City) clinched the titles by nearest rivals (Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur) not winning. The Schmeichels became the only biological father and son to win the Premier League.
Despite rumors of a move away after playing a crucial role in Leicester City's title in the 2015-16 season, on 6 August 2016, Schmeichel signed a new five-year contract until 2021. Schmeichel made his first appearance of the season in FA Community Shield against FA Cup winners, Manchester United, the match ended in a 2–1 defeat for the reigning champions. On the opening of the Premier League, Schmeichel continue his role in the goal ahead of new signing, Ron-Robert Zieler against newly promoted Hull City. Schmeichel was beaten twice as Hull City went on to beat the champions 2–1. After missing three games in September, including a midweek EFL Cup tie against Chelsea, with a minor groin injury, Schmeichel sustained a hand fracture in the first half of a Champions League match at F.C. Copenhagen on 2 November. Despite the injury, Schmeichel finished the game, seeing out a 0–0 draw by making a late save of Andreas Cornelius for his fourth Champions League clean sheet in four matches. After undergoing surgery two days later, Schmeichel was expected to miss six weeks of action, with Zieler taking his place in goal.
In Leicester's first Champions League campaign, Schmeichel saved a penalty in each leg of the last 16 tie with Sevilla – from Joaquín Correa and Steven N'Zonzi respectively – as the Foxes advanced 3–2 on aggregate.
While at Manchester City, Schmeichel was called up for the Denmark national under-19 team in August 2004, and made his international debut in a 0–0 draw with Northern Ireland on 2 September 2004. He went on to play eight under-19 internationals until March 2005, competing with Kenneth Stenild and Michael Tørnes for the goalkeeping spot. He was called up for the under-20 team in October 2005, but did not play for the team until October 2006, during his time at Bury. The day after his under-20 debut, Schmeichel was asked to train with the senior Denmark team and was called up as a replacement for injured Theis Rasmussen in the under-21 squad.
Schmeichel was one of the leading players in the team, and was named Danish under-21 Talent of the Year in November 2007, following three clean sheets in the previous four under-21 games. He played a total 17 under-21 internationals in a row from March 2007 to October 2008, racking up seven clean sheets.
Following his strong showings for Manchester City in the early 2007–08 season, it was reported on 23 August 2007 that The Football Association (FA) were investigating Schmeichel's international status, to see if there was any chance of him foregoing his Danish international status in order to play for England. Schmeichel, however, stated that he would only ever play for Denmark.
Schmeichel was called up to the Danish senior team on 13 May 2011 for the first time for the match against Iceland, but remained an unused substitute. On 29 May 2012, he was called up for UEFA Euro 2012 as a third goalkeeper after it became clear that Thomas Sørensen would miss the tournament due to an injury sustained against Brazil. Schmeichel made his senior debut in a 3–0 friendly match defeat to Macedonia at the Philip II Arena on 6 February 2013.
On 15 October 2013, Schmeichel had his first ever senior level game in his native Denmark, when he held an easy clean sheet in Denmark's 6–0 win against Malta in the last 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier. Denmark were eventually runners-up in the group, finishing six points behind Italy, but they did not progress to the play-offs for the finals as they were the lowest-ranked team of the nine runners-up.
On 5 March 2014, Schmeichel received his third cap for Denmark in their 1–0 friendly defeat against England at Wembley Stadium. Despite defeat, Schmeichel pulled off a string of impressive saves earning plaudits from the media as well as England manager Roy Hodgson.
Schmeichel signed an ambassadorial agreement with Precision Goalkeeping on 17 August 2010 which will include the release of the "Schmeichology" Goalkeeping Range.
Schmeichel is the son of former Denmark international goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Kasper spent most of his childhood living in England due to his father's playing career, and speaks with a native English accent. He attended Hulme Hall Grammar School in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Greater Manchester and he also attended Saint Julian's School in Portugal while his father played for Sporting CP in Lisbon. When Alex Bruce, son of Kasper's father's former Manchester United teammate Steve Bruce, joined Kasper at Leeds United, the move saw the two players re-unite after both had previously played football together on the streets as children after school.
Kasper Schmeichel has two children: a son, Max (born 2010) and a daughter, Isabella (born 2012).
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Manchester City||2005–06||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Manchester City Total||8||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||10||0|
|Darlington (loan)||2005–06||League Two||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||0|
|Bury (loan)||2005–06||League Two||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||15||0|
|Falkirk (loan)||2006–07||Scottish Premier League||15||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||17||0|
|Cardiff City (loan)||2007–08||Championship||14||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||14||0|
|Coventry City (loan)||2007–08||Championship||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|Notts County||2009–10||League Two||43||0||5||0||0||0||1||0||49||0|
|Leicester City Total||225||0||14||0||7||0||9||0||254||0|
- Football League Two: 2009–10
- Premier League: 2015–16
- Football League Championship: 2013–14
- Danish Football Player of the Year (2): 2016, 2017
- Danish Football Association's award (1): 2015
- Football League Team of the Decade (1): 2005–2015
- PFA Championship Team of the Year (2): 2012–13, 2013–14
- Football League Two Player of the Month (1): October 2009
- PFA League Two Team of the Year (1): 2009–10
- PFA League Two Fans' Player of the Year (1): 2009–10
- FA Cup Player of the Round (1): 3rd round 2009–10
- Leicester City Player of the Season (2): 2011–12, 2016 –17
- Leicester City Player's Player of the Season (2): 2011–12, 2016 –17
- Leicester City Supporters' Club Player of the Season (1): 2011–12
- Leicester City Champagne Moment of the Season (1): 2012–13