‘He’d tell you to f*ck off if you were being a d*ck!’ – Schmeichel on his favourite ref, Vardy stopping the port & Nigel Pearson doing the splits

The Leicester City goalkeeper has revealed some extraordinary behind-the-scenes information about life at the King Power Stadium

Kasper Schmeichel has revealed that his favourite Premier League referee is Mark Clattenburg – because the official was not afraid to tell players to “f*ck off” if necessary.

The Leicester City goalkeeper has been a mainstay for the Foxes ever since their promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and was key in their shock title success of 2016 and remains the undisputed number one at the King Power Stadium.

In his time in the top flight, Schmeichel has experienced a wide range of referees and their individual styles of controlling the game, but says Clattenburg’s no-nonsense approach stands out above them all.

Speaking on the BBC’s That Peter Crouch Podcast, the Danish keeper said: “I used to love Mark Clattenburg. No bullsh*t – he’d tell you to f*ck off if you were being a d*ck.”

Schmeichel also revealed some secrets of the Leicester dressing room, including a change to Jamie Vardy’s famous pre-match routine.

The striker in 2016 said that among his traditions before a game are three cans of energy drink and a double espresso, as well as a glass of port the night before. Schmeichel, however, says that Vardy – the top scorer in the Premier League this season before it was postponed due to coronavirus – has now dropped the fortified wine from his roster of pre-game beverages.

He said: “The port has stopped now, but that was his tradition. It worked for him.

“He’s never set foot in a gym. In training, sometimes he couldn’t hit a barn door. In games, he just flips a switch and does his thing. If we need someone to kick off about something, he’ll be the angry man. He tends to keep himself to himself – he’s not the lairy one on WhatsApp.”

Perhaps the most astonishing revelation of all came about former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson, who oversaw the club’s return to the top flight after a 10-year absence, as well as their escape from relegation in 2015 which set up their Premier League triumph the following season.

Schmeichel was full of praise for Pearson as a man and a coach – and also revealed the former hard-man centre-back is also a genius on the dance floor, as demonstrated at their Championship promotion party.

He said of Pearson: “He treats every single player like his own kids. We owe Nigel a great deal. So much of the infrastructure of the club is what Nigel put in place. He gets invested in people.

“He’s got a really soft, gentle side to him that you really don’t see. He adores and loves football – it’s all the circus around football that gets to him – all the media talk. He just wants to be a coach – he wants to be out on the pitch doing what he does.

“He’s an unbelievable ballroom dancer. I’ve seen him on stage, he’s good. He can do the splits. We’d won the league. He was happy. Everyone was dancing and he just did the splits. Everyone was like, ‘Woah?! Where did that come from?!’

“Really interesting character.”