Lee Grant: Schmeichel 'a huge hero of mine’

Saturday 30 April 2022 09:00

Manchester United goalkeeper Lee Grant has said that former Reds goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was a massive inspiration for him as an aspiring footballer.

The Englishman, who joined United in 2018, was discussing the sportspeople he looked up to with MUTV. 
As a boyhood United fan, Grant was immediately drawn to the presence of the five-time Premier League winner. 
“He was the one I looked to,” he said. “He had so much character and personality that it was hard not be consumed by what he was doing at the time.”
Watch Granty's full interview, where he explains his passion for many different sports and athletes.
Schmeichel was renowned for his shot-stopping ability and his commanding presence in goal. 
The Dane famously saved a penalty from Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay – an incident he has spoken about recently.
This was a crucial step in United completing the Treble that season.
He was recently inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame alongside Class of ’92 graduate Paul Scholes.
Sir Alex Ferguson once said of Schmeichel: “I don’t believe a better goalkeeper played the game. He is a giant figure in the history of Manchester United.”
Grant also referenced David James as role model. A fellow goalkeeper, James made 572 Premier League appearances across five clubs, putting him fifth in the all-time appearances list.
“I could really resonate with the career he was having. His game was probably a lot closer to the game I aspired to, growing up as a kid.”

Schmeichel and Scholes join Hall of Fame


The legendary duo are the latest former Reds to be inducted by the Premier League.

However, it wasn’t just football that interested a young Grant. “I was a big sport buff growing up,” the 39-year-old admitted.
He cited former New Zealand Rugby Union player Jonah Lomu as a reason for his brief interest in playing the sport professionally.
“I loved watching him play rugby,” Grant explained.
“I did have a spell between 12 and 15 where I was convinced that I was going to be an inside centre for England. After a couple of concussions, I decided that probably wasn’t going to be the case!”
British triple jumper Johnathan Edwards and Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor were also mentioned as inspiring figures. 
“I used to love watching athletics. “[There were] lots of sports on the telly in my household!”