BY SPORTS REPORTER
HIS promotion to the Leicester City first team might have taken a bit longer than expected, but Zimbabwe international striker Admiral Muskwe continues to make a mark at the English Premier League team’s development side following a brilliant run of scoring form this season.
The 21-year-old Muskwe, who has been at Leicester City for over a decade after joining the former English champions’ academy at the age of nine in 2007, has been making quite an impression with his goal-scoring prowess for the club’s development team.
Last week the Zimbabwe international was recognised for his good form by being nominated for December’s Premier League 2 Player of the Month award.
Muskwe was one of six players to be nominated for the award, whose shortlist was chosen by the Premier League Football Development panel after coaches nominated the best performances by opposing players in each league fixture.
The Zimbabwean has scored nine goals in 14 appearances for the Leicester Under-23 team, who are currently in second position on the Premier League 2 log this season, while also playing a key role in the youth side’s brilliant run to the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy.
The EFL Trophy is an annual English association football knockout competition open to the 48 clubs in EFL League One and EFL League Two, the third and fourth tiers of the English football league system.
Muskwe netted the winner at League One side Tranmere Rovers, following an earlier effort from George Hirst, to seal a 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night.
As a result, City’s youngsters will face League Two side Newport County at Rodney Parade in the quarter-final.
Reflecting on the victory at Prenton Park, Muskwe told LCFC TV: “The dressing room is on cloud nine! It was our target from the start of the season to get as far as we can in this competition.
“We’ve played against some good teams and we’re clearly proving that we can hold our own against these teams and beat them as well.
“Today was a different game to maybe a typical Under-23s game. It was one of those games where we had to fight, to battle.
“We (Muskwe and Hirst) got our rewards at the end of the game, both scoring good goals.”
The confidence flowing through Leicester’s Development Squad ranks can also drive them to further success in other competitions, Muskwe says.
City are second in Premier League 2 Division 1 and off to a winning start in the Premier League International Cup on the back of 11 wins in 12 outings.
“Confidence is high all across the team,” added Muskwe, who’s now on 10 goals this term. “Everyone’s playing well and without my teammates, I wouldn’t be scoring the goals I am.
“I’m thankful to them and hopefully long may it continue! In January, we’ve got loads of fixtures.
“We’ve got the International Cup, we’ve got this competition (EFL Trophy), we’ve got the league, and hopefully we continue winning these games and progress.”
Muskwe, who was named Leicester City’s Academy Player of the Season in May 2016, will be hoping his recent scoring form improves his chances of finally breaking into Leicester’s first team.
At the start of the season Muskwe was part of the Foxes’
pre-season training camp in Evian, France, before making a couple of appearances during the Premier League team’s pre-season friendlies.
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was suitably impressed with the youngsters including Muskwe.
“Looking at some of the younger players, I’ve been very pleased with them,” Rodgers told LCFC TV.
“They’ve come away and coped very well. It’s a great credit to the players who are in the first team. It’s very inclusive.
“They’re big names in terms of profile, the guys in the first team, but at the end of it, they’re just human beings and they accept the young guys. They know what it’s like for those young players coming into squads and how difficult it can be, but they’ve helped that process along. That’s allowed the young players to come out here and give their best. They’ve integrated very well.”
Muskwe represented the England national team at Under-17 level after making his debut for the Three Lions in the 2014 Under-17s’ Nordic Tournament and scored two goals in four appearances in the tournament.
He, however, switched allegiance to his country of birth at senior level after making his senior international debut for Zimbabwe in a 1-0 defeat to Lesotho in a friendly match in November 2017.
The striker was part of Zimbabwe’s provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt, but did not make the final list despite featuring in one game during the preparatory Cosafa Cup in South Africa in the lead-up to the continental showpiece.
Muskwe is, however, strongly tipped to play an important role for Zimbabwe in the future.
Muskwe’s twin sister Adelaide was part of Zimbabwe’s netball team at the World Cup in Liverpool.