(Reuters) – Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton is not taking his place in the first team for granted after the winger struggled to force his way into the side last season.
Albrighton joined the club in 2014 and failed to make an immediate impact, clocking up just six appearances by late December the same year.
However, the former Aston Villa man had found his feet by the start of this year and played a key role in Leicester’s remarkable run of seven wins in their last nine matches to finish 14th last season.
The 26-year-old has continued to impress this campaign, having scored once and set up five goals in 12 Premier League games.
The Foxes are third in the table on 25 points, trailing leaders Manchester City by a point, and Albrighton admits he is surprised by the club’s meteoric rise.
“There just seemed to be no way into the manager’s thoughts (last season). We had a good start and picked up some good points early on but we went on a losing run and couldn’t get a win,” Albrighton told the club’s website (www.lcfc.com).
“Last season was a tough time. I wasn’t playing and it didn’t look like we were going to get out of the mess we were in, so it looked like relegation.
“The difference a year makes is frightening but it has taught me not to take anything for granted.
“Now I go into every week thinking it is not a foregone conclusion that I am going to be playing any part of the game or even on the bench.
“I go into the weeks now working as hard as I possibly can in the build-up to games, and just hope I get the chance to put on that shirt at the end of the week and help the team,” he added.
Leicester travel to take on fourth-from-bottom Newcastle United in the league on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)