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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 10:01 GMT
Izzet a return to the top flight?
Muzzy Izzet celebrates another goal for the Foxes
Izzet has been in fine form this season

Muzzy Izzet let his heart rule his head when he was given a get-out-of-jail card to leave Leicester for Middlesbrough during the club's relegation season from the Premiership.

The midfielder opted to stay with the Foxes and he could help them take a huge step to automatic promotion with victory in the Division One summit meeting against Portsmouth on Monday.

Leicester are two points behind leaders Portsmouth but their position is all the more admirable considering the backdrop of uncertainty the players have performed against.

A combination of relegation and the collapse of ITV Digital - during a time when the club was moving to a new ground - pushed Leicester over a financial precipice and into administration.

Just to be on the pitch in the semi-final of a World Cup is something that I will never forget

Muzzy Izzet

Only recently have they emerged out the other side with Gary Lineker leading a successful takeover consortium.

"A lot of us being where we are in the league is down to the manager and the boys have got to take a lot of credit as well," Izzet told this website.

"We could have felt sorry for ourselves that we are not getting paid our full wages and other bits and pieces.

"But you have to look at the wider picture. We have got 32,000 supporters coming every other week at home and they want us to get back into the Premiership because we let them all down last season by the way we performed.

"If we can get them back into the Premiership hopefully that will make them feel much better."

Obviously, you would want to be playing in the Premiership with Leicester but you can't have it all your own way

Muzzy Izzet

The club's surrender to the drop last season was a painful affair for Izzet.

"It was just a bad place to be around," recalled the midfielder.

"If you are not winning games you are low anyway, but then relegation is really disappointing.

"I've been here the longest now and I've had nothing but good times at Leicester - winning trophies (League Cup 1997 and 2000) and playing in Europe.

"It was a major disappointment and was one of the worst parts of my career."

The silver lining in Izzet's black cloud came in the form of last summer's World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

The Turkey international came on as a substitute in the semi-final defeat to eventual champions Brazil.

"That was an achievement I will never forget," he said.

Muzzy Izzet (right) rubs shoulders with Rivaldo of Brazil in the World Cup semi-final
Izzet rubbed shoulders with Rivaldo during the World Cup

"It was a game that Brazil won but just to be on the pitch in the semi-final of a World Cup is something that I will never forget. It was probably the biggest game I have played in."

He added: "It was not a disappointment to come back to Leicester. I've had great years here. I am very happy at the club. I've had a lot of good times.

"Okay, last season was probably the biggest disappointment in my time here but I've made a lot of good friends here and a lot of friends at the club who I get on really well with.

"Obviously, you would want to be playing in the Premiership with Leicester but you can't have it all your own way."

Although, if Leicester continue in the same vain, Izzet soon might have.


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