New unsung Leicester City hero emerges amid adversity

James Justin of Leicester City (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
James Justin of Leicester City (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
Leicester City
James Justin of Leicester City (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Prior to signing for Leicester City, James Justin’s only experience of club football came from his time with Luton Town in League One. However, this hasn’t stopped the young Englishman from stepping up to the plate this season when needed the most.

It’s no secret that Leicester City are enduring somewhat of an injury crisis as of late. Almost half of the Foxes’ squad has spent some time on the sidelines owing to injury, with key players Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Çaglar Söyüncü all missing large parts of the season with long-term afflictions. And yet- Leicester are fourth in the Premier League.

The Foxes’ high-flying position is in no small part thanks to many of the East Midlanders’ squad players stepping up to the plate when needed. We’ve spoken recently about how Papy Mendy has been more than an ample deputy for Ndidi, while the shrewd additions of Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana have ensured that Leicester’s back line absences have been hardly felt.

However, I believe that one man isn’t quite receiving the credit he deserves for his part in Leicester’s success, and that’s England U-21 international James Justin.

From League One to Europe

Justin was signed in the summer of 2019 in the same window that saw Leicester acquire Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Pérez. As the most understated of the Foxes’ signings, many saw Justin as a squad player or one for the future. The young defender had just enjoyed a stellar campaign in League One, earning promotion to the Championship with boyhood side Luton Town. However, stepping up two divisions was undoubtedly going to be his biggest challenge yet.

In his debut season, Justin made 13 appearances in the Premier League as Leicester secured Europa League qualification, with most of his games as the injured Ricardo’s deputy. This season, the former Luton Town man has featured in every single game for Leicester in the league and Europe, more than any other City player.

It’s also worth considering that the 22-year-old has been frequently played out of position. With no out-and-out left back signed this season to replace the departed Ben Chilwell, many believed that Timothy Castagne would be filling the Chelsea man’s boots. As we now know, it’s Justin who’s often moved to the unfamiliar left-hand side to accommodate the Belgian’s arrival, also featuring all along the defence in wing-back and centre-back roles.

It seems that whatever Brendan Rodgers asks of Justin, he’s been able to deliver dependable performances no matter the role or occasion. Considering the jump from League one to playing both Premier League and European football, his versatility and consistency in a Leicester shirt has been outstanding.

Trending. A timely reminder of how fortunate Foxes fans are. light

It’s clear to me that James Justin is not the hero that Leicester City deserve, but he’s for sure the one that they have needed.