MX23RW : Sunday, February 17 18:49:39

Ward ‘relishing’ challenge of trying to become Leicester’s number one

The goalkeeper saved three penalties in the Carabao Cup win at Wolves.

Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward insists he is ready to challenge Kasper Schmeichel for the number one jersey.

The 25-year-old was the Foxes’ hero, saving three spot-kicks, at they beat Wolves 3-1 on penalties in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

Ward joined from Liverpool for around £12.5million in the summer, a large outlay for a back-up keeper.

Schmeichel has been the Foxes’ undisputed number one for the last six years, winning the Premier League in 2016, but Ward will not be happy warming the bench.

“No, every footballer will say the same. No-one is content with sitting on the bench, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

“It’s a challenge (to oust Schmeichel), you have to aspire to play. Kasper has been brilliant for a number of years and being recognised with his nomination for FIFA Best the other day.

“It’s a great task for me to try to move him, but it’s one I’m definitely relishing.”

Ward has been restricted to two League Cup appearances, making his debut in the 4-0 win over Fleetwood in the second round.

But, despite his lack of early season action, Ward, who started his career at Bolton, is relaxed with his price tag.

“It doesn’t bother me at all, whether it was the money they paid or it was a free transfer,” he said.

“I’m a young goalkeeper who wants to play football and I thought I’d have more opportunity to play at this great football club than I would have at Liverpool.”

Ward also continued to prove his penalty pedigree with saves from Romain Saiss, Diogo Jota and Adama Traore at Molineux following a 0-0 draw.

In 2017, he saved two penalties in Huddersfield’s Championship play-off semi-final shootout win over Sheffield Wednesday and then one in the final from Jordan Obita as the Terriers beat Reading on penalties.

He added: “Body language is a big thing, you’ve got to show the striker you’re more than confident and maybe play a few mind games with them.

“There’s no real secret remedy for it. You can do all you can to put them off, but ultimately you just pick a way and dive.”


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