Foxes gear up for 'biggest game in Europe' in five years against giants Roma at King Power Stadium

Daniel Amartey of Leicester City passes the ball during the UEFA Europa Conference League Credit: MI News/NurPhoto/PA Images

When Leicester City step out at the King Power against Roma on Thursday, it'll be another chance to make history for a club that is now no stranger to success.

This is certainly the biggest game in Europe for the Foxes since 2017's Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid. Leicester came up short over two legs but for the first time ever, they now play in a European semi-final. 

But context here is useful.

The competition Leicester are in is certainly not their preferred choice.

Over the past three seasons, they have aimed to qualify for the Champions League but have come up short. In the Europa League, Europe's second-tier competition, Leicester were knocked out this season after the group stage.

Thus they found themselves in the third tier of Europe. 

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall of Leicester City celebrates with Ademola Lookman of Leicester City Credit: MI News/NurPhoto/PA Images

It can be argued that this competition was not made for a club of Leicester's current stature. It's been introduced this season primarily to give clubs across Europe not familiar with competing cross-continent, a chance to do so and win silverware.

As a club that aims for a top six Premier League finish, it was never on their agenda. When they fell into it, boss Brendan Rodgers admitted he didn't actually know too much about it and yet here they are in the semi-final.

If the view of this competition not being for the Foxes is a fair one, the same can also be said for the likes of the other teams in the latter stages. PSV, who Leicester beat in the quarter-final, have qualified for Europe every year since 1974 - an incredible feat.

They are regularly in the Champions League. As for AS Roma, Leicester's opponents, they are more comfortable similarly in Europe's top tier competition or indeed in the Europa League.

Just last season they made the semi-final but were beaten by Manchester United.

The other two semi-finalists are again no stranger to dining at Europe's top table - Feyenoord and Marseille can consider themselves European household names.

So in essence, the objective of the competition hasn't really been achieved.

But the competition gives something arguably greater than a third-tier trophy.

The winner gains entry to the Europa League next season, thus ensuring European qualification back in the second tier.

Now far be it for me to make a judgement on how other clubs feel about this but it can be argued that Leicester need this far more than Roma, Marseille or Feyenoord. Marseille are second in the French League and will already qualify for Europe.

Feyenoord are third and look good to do the same. Roma are fifth in Serie A and as things stand, will also qualify for the Europa League or potentially better.

But Leicester's hopes of qualifying through the Premier League look a bit more remote. Sitting 10th there is a ten point gap to West Ham in 7th - though they do have two games in hand.

A tournament win for Leicester therefore wouldn't just make history, it would be vital for the club next season.

I asked Brendan if there was an argument that this means more to Leicester than the others. 'Not really' was the start of his response but he did acknowledge what the winner gets and so you can read into it that it would certainly be welcomed.

So what about Roma? Well, for those aficionados of Italian football, the name rolls off the tongue in the same way as Juventus, Lazio, Napoli and the Milans.

It is quite simply a huge club. Former captain and World Cup winner Francesco Totti is not just an icon and legend of the club but also of Italian football.

They also currently have a host of familiar names. Former Villa and Chelsea player Tammy Abraham, former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, former Wolves keeper Rui Patricio and Arsenal's Maitland-Niles on loan.

That's not all.

Leonardo Spinazzola burst on to the world stage when Italy won the European Championship last year before an injury ruled him out of the closing stages of the tournament. But Bryan Cristante was also there as the Azzurri triumphed. 

Add into the mix that they are managed by Jose Mourinho, of Chelsea, Manchester and Tottenham fame, and this tie excites the football neutral. Jose is a born winner.

Jose Mourinho manager of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A match Credit: Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto/PA Images

He's won the Premier League three times, the Portuguese League twice, the Spanish League, the Italian League twice with Inter Milan and has won the Champions League twice with two different clubs, most notably unfancied Portuguese side Porto and the Europa League with Manchester United.

In short, he is a serial winner and this trophy would complete his European set. 

Brendan Rodgers and Mourinho know each other very well. Rodgers was a coach under Jose at Chelsea in those glory years and they also know each other from opposition dug outs.

When Gerrard's slip eight years ago helped Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool, it more or less handed the trophy to Manchester City when it looked like Brendan Rodgers would be the first man to bring the Premier League trophy to Anfield.

Jose in the opposite dug out could hardly contain himself, even though they had little to gain by winning.

But for Brendan, this is not about revenge, They've faced each other since and he describes Mourinho as 'one of the greats of our generation' and as having 'the X Factor'. Jose is someone he clearly admires and respects but the focus will all be on Leicester for Rodgers where he has had his own moments of glory.

He's the first to deliver the FA Cup for the Foxes and the first to take them to a European semi-final. 

He will be hoping he's also the first to win them a European trophy.

Not many will have wanted this one before the season started but it is now highly coveted and in Leicester's case, for very good reasons.