Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers (L) congratulates Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (L) at the end of the game during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Sheffield United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
The story of Kelechi Iheanacho’s sojourn in English football has been in twists and turns. It kicked off on a very bright note at Manchester City after the young lad helped Nigeria win the FIFA U17 World Cup in Qatar in 2013.
He was handed his first professional contract at Manchester City in 2015. Iheanacho’s City career took a dive after the arrival of Pep Guardiola. Iheanacho first broke through to the City first team in 2015 and was given regular playing time by Guardiola’s predecessor Manuel Pellegrini.
The Spanish gaffer soon relegated the Nigerian to a bench warmer as he was always using Aguero and Gabriel Jesus and the young man soon took a decision to leave when Leicester came for him in 2017. The Cityzens sold the Nigerian after Leicester offered.
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Iheanacho struggled to find his feet at the King Power stadium initially, no thanks to the constant change of manager and also the presence of Jamie Vardy.
The 24-year-old finally got his chance to impress after Leicester City lost James Maddison and Dennis Praet to injury and he grabbed his chance by scoring seven goals in four games, with five of them coming in the premier league.
The form earned him the player of the month award for the month of March and Guardiola said he is glad to see Iheanacho performing so well lately.
The former Barcelona manager stressed further that he had to allow Iheanacho to leave Manchester City because he was behind Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in the pecking order.
Guardiola said of his former striker. “ He links really well with the midfield and he’s good in behind, he’s fast, and in the final third he has the right tempo, he is so clear in front of the goal.”
It is his marksmanship and clinical effectiveness in front of the goal that took Leicester to the FA Cup final. It is not unexpected that Brendan Rodgers believes so much in the 24-year-old to deliver against Chelsea.