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‘Give me trophies over the top four any day!’: Wes Morgan on FA Cup triumph with Leicester

Wes Morgan looks out onto the very pitch where, exactly one year ago, he lifted the FA Cup in his final moments as a Leicester City player.

“It’s great to be here,” says the former Leicester captain. sports mail in an interview high up in the stands at Wembley Stadium.

“I remember all the emotions of that day and I can imagine the moment it happened… Youri getting the ball off his feet and scoring, the ball going into the top corner…”

Morgan’s voice trails off as he remembers one of the best days in Leicester’s history. Tielemans’ marvelous goal was enough to beat Chelsea and give the club its first FA Cup, just five years after their impressive Premier League title.

Wes Morgan is the latest captain to lift the FA Cup after Leicester beat Chelsea in 2021

Wes Morgan is the latest captain to lift the FA Cup after Leicester beat Chelsea in 2021

The former Foxes captain returned to Wembley this week as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations.

The former Foxes captain returned to Wembley this week as part of the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

The Jamaican international was on the verge of not reaching Wembley. Morgan’s 2020-21 season was plagued by injuries, but he won his race against time to appear in the final, coming on as a substitute with eight minutes to go as Leicester looked for victory.

“Since January I’ve been out most of the season with a back problem and I knew, it hadn’t been officially announced, that it was going to be my last season,” says Morgan.

“I was pushing really hard to come back and play the last two games before I hung up my boots. I got fit enough to be in the FA Cup final squad, so I was delighted because I wasn’t sure I could make it to the bench.

“I came on the bench, which I was absolutely excited about, and I was very happy to be involved, especially after being out for so long and because it was the final.

Morgan came off the bench at the end of the 2021 final as Leicester beat Chelsea at Wembley

Morgan came off the bench at the end of the 2021 final as Leicester beat Chelsea at Wembley

It was Morgan's last appearance in a Leicester shirt as he finished his Foxes career in style.

It was Morgan’s last appearance in a Leicester shirt as he finished his Foxes career in style.

‘It was better, getting on the pitch and helping the team withstand Chelsea’s onslaught and get the win in the end. There were a lot of mixed emotions, a lot of happy times and memories, and just delighted to be involved and then win the FA Cup.”

Morgan has always been a player who values ​​trophies above anything else in the game. Such is the prestige of the Champions League that finishing fourth is akin to a trophy, but the now 37-year-old, a key member of Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning side in 2016, doesn’t see it that way.

“When you look back on your career, you look back on the trophies,” said Morgan, who made a combined 719 appearances for Nottingham Forest and Leicester.

“If it was the choice to be in the top four and play in the Champions League… I had already been lucky enough to play in it, so it might not have been top of my priority list anyway, but definitely for me, [I’d rather] trophies

Morgan was a key member of the Leicester team that won the Premier League title in 2016.

Morgan was a key member of the Leicester team that won the Premier League title in 2016.

“It’s what you remember at the end of your career… the moments, the memories, the preparation for that final game and when you go in and win it… it’s all about that when you finish your career.

“It’s nice to play in the Champions League and get a chance at some of the biggest teams in Europe, but for me it’s all about trophies.”

Since retiring, Morgan has set his sights on an executive-level role in soccer as he seeks to address what he feels is a lack of diversity in boardrooms across the country.

It’s not hard to see why. Of the 20 Premier League clubs, only two – Arsenal and Wolves – have chief executives, or an equivalent role, who hail from BAME.

The now 37-year-old made a total of 719 career appearances, including 323 for Leicester.

The now 37-year-old made a total of 719 career appearances, including 323 for Leicester.

Morgan is currently studying for a master’s degree in sports management and hopes to bring about change from within.

“I absolutely want to address that,” says Morgan. ‘It is clear to see. If you look at the composition of boardrooms and executive positions, in terms of representation, it’s not diverse enough.

‘It’s an issue that has been highlighted and I’m working in groups to try and tackle it. That’s not going to happen overnight, the entire makeup of boardrooms and senior management is not going to change quickly. It’s going to take time.

“But there has been some slow progress that is helping, there have been some changes to try to make things better to be more diverse in the future and a lot of the big organizations are embracing that model. In the next few years, we will have a different conversation about this and things will look very different.’

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