Konchesky joins forces again with the wily old fox Sven

Eriksson has signed an entire defensive unit to safeguard Leicester City's Premier League ambitions and one of his old England favourites fits the bill perfectly

If a week is a long time in politics, a year is an eternity in football. Paul Konchesky is now gearing up to help Sven Goran Eriksson's free-spending Leicester City achieve promotion from the Championship, a task he could never have imagined undertaking 12 months ago as he strove to make Liverpool's left-back slot his own after a £3.5 million move from Fulham.

Konchesky, 30, was discarded in January after Kenny Dalglish's return to Anfield, though not before his mother had rounded on his Scouse critics on Facebook. "Everyone's mum is the same," he says in a break between sessions at Leicester's fast-expanding training complex. "But I've got nothing bad to say about Liverpool. That's in the past and I'm looking to the future."

In which case Konchesky, who won his two international caps during Eriksson's tenure with England, came to the right place when he signed this month for a reputed £1.5m. For if incoming transfers are a measure of ambition and vision, there can be no club in the Football League with as much to look forward to as Leicester.

Bankrolled by Vichai Raksriaksorn and his son Top, whose Thailand-based duty-free retail business bought the club from Milan Mandaric last August, Eriksson has lavished £10m on new players (not to mention the wages to attract Premier League players) since last season's 10th-placed finish. The fact that five of his nine close-season recruits are defenders – with another a goalkeeper – points to where the weakness lay during his first eight months at what is now the King Power Stadium.

Konchesky believes that Leicester's strategy, based on the most successful Premier League clubs, is to have two players for each position, and Michael Ball, who played in Eriksson's first match as England manager in 2001, will challenge for his place if his trial period is successful. Leicester's pre-season adventures saw them use completely different sides in either half of certain games.

Having established competition within the ranks, Eriksson sought a context which would prepare theFoxes for the 46-match slog that is the Championship campaign. Not for Leicester a few low-key friendlies with Irish or non-League opposition. First they travelled to Stockholm, where, says Konchesky, Eriksson was welcomed on his homecoming like "Mr Sweden", and the La Liga team Real Mallorca were held 1-1 in between victories over Swedish opposition.

Then it was on to Austria, where Eriksson once took Lazio to prepare for what proved a Serie A title-winningseason. "The games there were tough," admits Konchesky. "We drew 0-0 with Bursaspor [the Turkish team who are in the Europa League this season] and lost only 1-0 to Valencia."

Leicester's arduous schedule, topped off with a sold-out visit from Real Madrid yesterday, provoked scepticism from supporters who feared that a team soon to be scuffling for points with Peterborough, Doncaster and Millwall might beover-reaching themselves.

"From my experience," argues Konchesky, "the tougher the better. A tour is a good time to come to a new club. You do your training work in the daytime but instead of everyone going back to their own homes, you're stuck together in an unfamiliar country. You get to know your team-mates as people and as players."

It was also an opportunity to reacquaint himself with Eriksson, 63, who rated him as a rival to Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge during Konchesky's spells with Charlton and West Ham, giving him 45 minutes against Australia and Argentina respectively. "Him being at Leicester definitely played a part in my choice," he says. "He's got great pedigree and I wanted to work with him again."

The old fox's charisma came to the fore in his home country, where, Konchesky recalls, they "made a fuss of him everywhere we went". But Eriksson is no mere figurehead. "He's out on the training field every day. He has a very clear idea of what he wants and gets his points across.

"Once he's done that, he leaves it to the coaches. It's always difficult when you bring in almost a complete team of new players, but the manager has done it in such a way that we've got to know one another already. We're experienced enough to know what we have to do, and if we stick together I think we'll be fine."

What Leicester have to do, he accepts, is to secure promotion to the Premier League, where they last played in 2003-04, since when they endured a season in the third tier for the only time in their history. "It'll be a disappointment if we don't make the play-offs at least. Everything I've seen in my three weeks here – the stadium, the facilities and the backing from the owners – suggests the club are big enough to get up there."

The bookies clearly concur, listing Leicester alongside another of his former clubs, West Ham, as favourites. "You've got to fancy West Ham," says the Barking-born defender, who idolised Julian Dicks on the terraces. "They got relegated but they have a new manager and, so far, they've kept some of their big players." Nottingham Forest, to whom Liverpool loaned him, could also be a threat under Eriksson's former England No 2 and successor, Steve McClaren, who Konchesky believes has inherited several "very good young players".

He adds: "There will be 10 or 12 clubs hoping they can make it this time, and we're one of them. Because of the money we've spent, everyone will look at us and say, 'They're the ones to beat'. But if you want to be in the Premier League, you've got to handle those pressures."

Leicester is more: Sven's spending spree

Lee Peltier (right-back, 24): Bought from Huddersfield for £1m-plus. One Champions' League appearance for Liverpool in 2006.

Neil Danns (midfielder, 28): Spurned Wolves, Celtic and Rangers to join Leicester on a free transfer after his Crystal Palace contract expired.

Kasper Schmeichel (goalkeeper, 24): Surprisingly sold by Leeds for £1.5m. Served Eriksson at Manchester City and Notts County.

Sean St Ledger (centre-back, 26): Republic of Ireland international snapped up for £1.2m after suffering relegation with Preston.

David Nugent (striker, 26): One substitute outing, one goal, for England, in 2007. Free agent after the end of his Portsmouth deal.

Matt Mills (centre-back, 25): Cost £4.5m from Reading. Born in Leicester, he was a reserve at Manchester City under Eriksson.

Paul Konchesky (left-back, 30): Two England caps and Premier League experience with five clubs. £1.5m refugee from Liverpool.

John Pantsil (right-back/midfielder, 30): Reached the World Cup quarter-finals with Ghana last year. Free transferfrom Fulham.

Michael Johnson (midfielder, 23): Flourished under Eriksson at Eastlands. Badly injured in 2009, now on a season-long loan.

All transfer fees officially announced as 'undisclosed'. Figures given are as reported in media

Phil Shaw

Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall