A number of professional players are born in Leicester but not being discovered, been released or moved away at an early age, not being really in line for a chance at the club. A grand talent almost always ends up at Leicester City, few or no one has signed for a top club as early as not being picked up by the local professional club. Former Leicester City players Dion Dublin and Jeff Blockley experienced the odd situation of being born in the city, never been listed and started life at a different club, on a lower or similar level.
Dublin played locally at a young age, but instead of being brought into Leicester City he got his professional career on roll with Norwich City. After a run in the reserves and youth teams with the canaries, he was released without making a single first team appearance. A move to Cambridge United and later Manchester United made him a known name after becoming a Sir Alex Ferguson £1m signing. Dublin later played for Coventry City and Aston Villa, was selected to play four times for England, and at the age of 35 he finally signed for Leicester City. He did ok at Leicester, and was among the best players before moving on to Celtic and finishing his career back at Norwich City, keeping it going until the age of 39.
Jeff Blockley, a defender, also capped at full international level, was rated one of the finest central defenders in the game when he played for Coventry City, a record move to Arsenal came around, to be the direct replacement for an aging Frank McLintock, and after a difficult spell with The Gunners, Jimmy Bloomfield decided to bring the player home to Leicester City, as he had once hoped for would happen. He became a favorite in company with Alan Woollett and later Steve Sims.
Today not many but a few have managed to get a career in professional football and are doing well, the names Lee Tomlin and Che Adams might sound familier. Tomlin left Leicester City at a young age while Adams got his chance with the Coventry City academy, before as late as 2012-13 playing non-league with Oadby Town, and probably playing alongside Matt Piper, Stefan Oakes, Julian Joachim and Jon Stevenson, who all turned out for the club in this period. Adams had a short stay at Ilkeston before being moved on to Sheffield United and from there in 2016, signing for Birmingham City. He has done well with The Blues and so far at the age of 22, played 82 league games and scored 15 goals.
Lee Tomlin is at the moment on loan at Nottingham Forest, being under contract at Cardiff City. He has been seen as a typical player to catch if you like to get out of the Championship, as he has previously fought promotion with Middlesbrough and Cardiff City. Tomlin, now 29, has since leaving Leicester City played at Rushden & Diamonds and Peterborough United. A typical climber of performance and today seen as a player who can be of great help in a promotion push. Hopefully he will leave Nottingham Forest and go back to Cardiff City to stop a possible rise for the neighbor. But as we speak Forest are fifth, steady performing for a play offs push, with Tomlin’s previous manager at Middlesbrough, Aitor Karanka as the one in charge.
Chris Kirkland, born in Bramley, Leicestershire, is a former goalkeeper who as Jeff Blockley explored the thrill of being an England one cap wonder. Kirkland started as Adams with Coventry City and played at both Liverpool and Wigan Athletic. While with the Latics he had, in 2010, a short loan spell with Leicester City, playing three league games. Five local lads with four of them finding the way back. Watching Che Adams he might be in line for a return as well.