Is there a more appealing footballing narrative than that of the hometown hero; the local kid rising through the youth academy ranks, defying the odds to make his mark on the first team?
The 19-year-old was thrown into the starting XI out of circumstance, but delivered a performance that had us all asking 'who the hell is this guy?'
Well, here are seven things you probably didn't know about Luke Thomas, but might want to know for the weeks ahead.
1. He Didn't Even Have a Wikipedia Page Prior to His Debut
Prior to his surprise inclusion in Thursday's starting lineup, the no.56 was so under-the-radar that no one had even bothered to create him a Wikipedia page.
Even Dylan McLaughlin, a striker who just signed for Maryhill FC in the West of Scotland League Conference A - the 7th tier of Scottish football - has a Wikipedia page. The information on it is wrong, granted, but he still has it.
Anyway, Thomas has one now - though it was clearly hastily created, given it consists entirely of two sentences.
2. No, He Hasn't Played for Barnsley This Season
That's a different Luke Thomas, an attacking midfielder, who is the second 'Luke Thomas' to come up on Google when you search 'Luke Thomas.'
The first 'Luke Thomas' is Radio DJ Luke Thomas, host of the Luke Thomas Show on Sirius FM.
Basically, there's quite a lot of Luke Thomases.
3. Quietly Making an Impact
Reflecting on Luke Thomas’ debut ?— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 17, 2020
“The objective is to play for the first team. I was thrilled for him. It’s always exciting as a coach to develop players, whether they’re young or old players. It’s the beginning of what will hopefully be a fantastic career for him.” pic.twitter.com/JuHwepM0zZ
While basically no one without a pre-existing knowledge of the Leicester youth ranks had heard of him prior to The Athletic's piece on him last month, he's actually been making an impression for a couple of years now.
He's been one of their academy's standout performers in recent times, and was one of three nominees for academy player of the year in 2018, beaten to the award by Conor Tee.
He has eight caps at youth level for England - just one fewer than Ben Chilwell managed at Under-18 and Under-19 level - and has been a regular for the club's B-team this season in PL2 and the EFL Trophy.
4. Thierry Henry Is His Idol
Bit bizarre for a left-back, but hear him out.
Thomas' obsession with the former Arsenal striker dates back to his very early days as a Leicester player, when he spent five years as a forward, before being converted into a left-back at under-14 level.
“I was a striker as a kid,” Thomas told LCFCQ. “Players like Thierry Henry, watching him, I just liked seeing goalscorers. I was playing striker for a good five seasons up until about Under-13s.
“That is when I first got moved to left-back. I went back as a striker for half a season and then since Under-14s, I’ve been left-back since."
5. He Only Turned 19 Last Month
He's got his first-team debut under his belt already, and time is very much on Thomas' side. He celebrated his 19th birthday on 10 June, having put pen to paper on his first professional terms just over a year earlier - when he was still just 17.
He was described by the club's official website then as a 'talented youngster', who had played a starring role in an outstanding campaign for the Under-18s.
6. Utility Man in the Making?
Before he was a striker, long before he was a left-back, Thomas claims he was a central midfielder. OK, so he might have been about eight when he last played there, but that sort of versatility never leaves you.
He's played on the left wing for the youth sides too, all of which suggesting he is capable of wearing many hats.
"I’ve played quite a lot of games in left wing-back of left midfield," he told the club website in May. "I like attacking too, so I don’t mind either of the positions."
7. He's Eyeing Ben Chilwell's Spot
Luke Thomas ?️— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 16, 2020
Ayoze Pérez ⚽️
A superb goal to give us the lead this evening ? pic.twitter.com/coa8qDMHLa
Having watched Ben Chilwell emerge from the academy to make a seismic impact on the first-team, Thomas has a clear path to follow - and hopes to one day take over that role as he club's starting left-back.
Given he's only just made his debut, he won't quite be hoping Chilwell leaves this summer. But give it a year, then ask him the same question...
“He’s been on the same path that I am now going on,” The Athletic quote Thomas as saying, referring to Chilwell. “I just want to push on and follow in his footsteps, and hopefully get my chance whenever it comes.”
Source : 90min