Jack Barmby - Portland Timbers - April 2016
Troy Wayrynen/USA Today

Portland's Jack Barmby reflects on former club Leicester City's EPL run

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Before the start of the 2015-16 English Premier League season, the line on Leicester City topping the league was famously set at 5000/1. Now, nine months later, the Foxes have won it all, sealing their Championship with Tottenham Hotspur's 2-2 draw against Chelsea FC on Monday morning.

Nobody, perhaps not even Leicester themselves, expected the Foxes to end the season at the top of the table -- so how did a club that had never before won a championship in their 132-year history beat out all of England's traditional powerhouses and pull it off?

New Portland Timbers winger Jack Barmby may have some insight. A player in the Leicester City system since 2014, Barmby joined the Timbers on loan from the Foxes' U-21 side this March.

Training with Leicester City at the start of the 2015-16 season, Barmby had a chance to see the formation of the side which would go on to shock the Premier League.

"I don't think you are actually expecting to win the league, but we had expected to have a very good season," Barmby told reporters after Portland's 2-1 win over Toronto FC on Sunday. "I mean, just looking in and training with them, and stuff like that, you knew that the chemistry in the team just worked. It worked really well and all the guys got on really well."

"For some reason it just clicked," he added. "The players they signed -- [N'Golo Kanté] for example -- just came straight in and fit right in. It's just worked. It's one of them things where everyone has come together and the game, they make it really simple, but it is effective."

For Barmby, Leicester has plenty of quality players --  he singles out midfielder Danny Drinkwater as "unbelievable" -- but their strength comes from how they come together.

"It's down to hard work and teamwork. I think that is the biggest thing: that they're all in it together. They'll run for each other. The team spirit has been really, really good."

As when any team shakes things up, the ethos of Leicester City is making waves all across the world, including in MLS.

"The manager [Caleb Porter] said before, even just in drills in training, just watch Leicester and learn: its a team that will work for each other," said Barmby. "That's basically what it is. They have got some quality, but they work for each other; they want to run for each other and work hard for each other."