James Maddison admits he has missed the magic of playing after he marked his European debut with a goal in Leicester’s 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk.
Midfielder Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho netted as the Foxes eventually made light work of their Europa League Group G rivals.
Victory helped Leicester recover following surprise defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Maddison is back following a hip injury and he wants to make his mark now this season.
“It was really good to be out there, when you have an injury it brings back the magic of why you love football,” said the England international. “To be back out starting, pain free and in Europe for the first time is special.
“It was a different challenge for us, it was a little bit of the unknown but they were a good team.
“It’s a fantastic night but a little bit bittersweet. I don’t want to take the shine off it myself, it’s a European debut and a goal, I should be happy with it, but I wish my family were up there and we had a full King Power Stadium.
“I’m someone who likes pressure and if there are no fans to do that I’ll do it myself because I know what levels I can get to.”
Zorya were limited but still nearly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Kasper Schmeichel denied Vladyslav Kabayev after he was left free in the area.
Yet Leicester took control seven minutes later when Barnes’ strike hit the post and, after a scramble, Maddison tapped in his second goal of the season.
Dmytro Ivanisenya lobbed wide after Schmeichel’s poor clearance but Leicester doubled their lead in first-half injury time when Barnes ran through to score.
Iheanacho made it 3-0 in the 67th minute following Ivanisenya’s wretched pass as the Foxes marked their return to European football after a three-year absence with victory.
Zorya boss Viktor Skripnik said: “I’d like to congratulate Leicester but our guys played a decent game. We have nothing to feel ashamed about, we haven’t lost anything which can’t be recovered.
“We have another five games to play so we are hoping to put some points on the board.
“These kind of games are good experience. The first 30 minutes we were playing really well, before the first goal but then we had some bad moments.
“There was inconsistency in our game. We didn’t get a result this time but we were playing against a very good team.
“Not everything is lost and there is everything to gain.”