Leicester City's unfashionable stars top of the Premier League
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 10/02/16 6:18am
There's more to Leicester City than Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
Claudio Ranieri's players have collectively surprised everyone to reach the top of the Premier League table, and with so much attention on Vardy and Mahrez high up the goals and assists charts, it is easy to forget the supporting cast.
The Leicester team which beat Manchester City 3-1 consisted of eight players who were present last season as the club avoided relegation while a number of the team were signed from Championship and Premier League clubs for modest fees.
We look at five unheralded Leicester players and ask why their previous clubs were willing to let them leave...
Former clubs: Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Stoke
Transfer fee: £3m from Stoke City on June 24, 2015
After making 143 appearances for Stoke, Huth moved to Leicester City in a Deadline Day loan move in February 2015 and played a crucial part in helping the club maintain their Premier League status. After making the move permanent last summer, Huth has been one of the league's most dependable centre-backs this season, missing just one league match. The 31-year-old ranks in the top 10 for blocks, clearances and headed clearances in the Premier League this season.
What they said
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes (in 2015): "Robert's a very, very good defender. The way Leicester play is a perfect situation for Robert. He's a leader as well and I'm sure he has a huge influence in the dressing room. It was unfortunate that in his time here under me, for the most part he was injured. He was out for a long time unfortunately and when he got back he struggled to break through.
"In the end, he wanted to play in the Premier League and at the time I allowed him to go to Leicester. I was trying to get him game time. The idea was for probably him to go to the Championship but in fairness to Rob and his career there was an opportunity for him to go to Leicester. As it was it turned out to be a good opportunity in the end for him - and we got decent money."
Former clubs: Aston Villa, Wigan (loan)
Transfer fee: Undisclosed fee from Aston Villa on May 23, 2014
Albrighton was an Aston Villa academy product but struggled to make a significant impact during his time under five different managers despite getting regular first-team football from the 2010/11 campaign onwards. However, Leicester took a chance on the winger and signed him before the start of last season. Under former manager Nigel Pearson, Albrighton gained most of his minutes off the bench before earning a starting role for last season's run-in. With Ranieri now in charge, the 26-year-old has thrived on the left-hand side of midfield, ranking 10th across the Premier League for chances created.
What they said
Former Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood (in 2015): "It is a credit to Marc he has eventually forced his way into the side on a regular basis. He was a wing-back last year flying up and down and he is a very fit guy. He doesn't muck around, he gets that ball into the box. He has taken a knock of being released from the club or being disposed of and bounced back. That can happen. If we had a glass ball we would know differently but unfortunately for Villa it looks like it might not have been the correct call. We can't worry about that now, it is a decision that has been made."
Former clubs: Manchester United, Huddersfield (loan), Cardiff City (loan), Watford (loan), Barnsley (loan)
Transfer fee: Undisclosed fee from Manchester United on January 20, 2012
Drinkwater left Manchester United for Leicester in January 2012 after spending most of his career on loan. The 25-year-old is enjoying a stand-out season and has been tipped by media pundits to be included in Roy Hodgson's next England squad. He averages 2.8 tackles per game and completes 78 per cent of his passes, producing 1.4 key passes per game.
What was said
Former Barnsley boss Keith Hill (in 2012): "I can understand him joining City. You can't deny the deal that will be on offer at Leicester, never mind the fee. He's been absolutely superb and he's been instrumental in what we're trying to achieve. I believe he will be a Premier League player one day."
Claudio Ranieri (in 2015): "When we bought Kante and Inler, we thought they were very good central midfielders. Drinkwater surprised me because we played with two central midfielders and he started to play very well. He did exactly what I want and is very important."
Former clubs: Nottingham Forest, Kidderminster Harriers (loan)
Transfer fee: Undisclosed fee from Nottingham Forest on January 30, 2012
Apart from a brief loan spell at Kidderminster Harriers in 2002, Morgan was a Nottingham Forest player for his entire career up until 2012. At Forest, Morgan won three Player of the Year awards, a place in the Football League team of the decade and also experienced three play-off defeats. It was not until he reached his 30s that he got the opportunity to play in the Premier League with Leicester, where he first won promotion from the Championship followed by a survival campaign in the top flight. This season, Morgan has been a formidable partner to Robert Huth and individually ranks fourth for blocks across the whole of the Premier League.
What was said
Former Forest boss Steve Cotterill (in 2012): "We don't want to end up with a situation where, potentially, a player leaves here for nothing, when he is out of contract. We can't allow that to happen when you consider the money situation for the club."
Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson (in 2014): "Wes has been every bit the captain we hoped he would be. He's a leader on and off the pitch, sets a terrific example for young players and is an extremely positive influence on the squad."
Former clubs: Manchester United, Royal Antwerp (loan), Sunderland (loan), Ipswich (loan), Blackburn (loan), Newcastle, QPR
Transfer fee: Undisclosed fee from QPR on August 30, 2014
Like Drinkwater, Simpson is a product of Manchester United's academy, but the full-back only made three appearances for the first team. He spent four years out on loan before moving to Newcastle permanently in 2010, where he played for a further three years. A full Premier League season at Queens Park Rangers was followed by a permanent switch to Leicester. Despite an off-the-field incident which meant he missed the start of the season, Simpson has been able to lock down the right-back role permanently since late September, making 20 appearances.
What was said
Former QPR boss Harry Redknapp (in 2014): "Danny was a good lad and did a good job here, but Nedum Onuoha can play right-back in a four for me. There's no problem there. We're okay."
Danny Simpson (in 2014): "I was quite surprised when Harry Redknapp pulled me into his office and said Leicester had made an enquiry and that he was happy to let me go. I had enjoyed a good pre-season and was ready to hit the ground running in the Premier League, so it was a little bit of a shock after the year I'd had."