Former Golden Eaglet captain and coach, Nduka Ugade, yesterday insisted that Nigerian striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, will continue to struggle at Leicester City because the forward is not being played in his best position.
Iheanacho’s struggles for dependability at Leicester City are down to the Premier League outfit playing him out of position, according to Ugbade.
The Foxes were labelled to have pulled off quite a coup when winning the race for the Nigerian from Manchester City.
However, the 23-year-old is yet to reach his potential at King Power Stadium.
Nigerian football great, Ugbade – who worked with Iheanacho as assistant coach of the Nigeria U17 and U20 teams, believes the wrong approach is being taken with the star.
“Iheanacho’s coaches must know how best to use him,” he told Goal.com at the weekend.
“He is not an outright striker but he can play behind the main striker to provide assists while scoring goals.
“Myself and Manu (Garba) know him very well and we know what he is capable of doing. All he needs now is getting regular playing time to get himself back into the game.”
For Ugbade, learning different roles could be demanding for any young player, nevertheless, he suggests the Super Eagle will bounce back if he gains regular playing time at East Midland.
“I don’t think he has actually done badly knowing that he is from Nigeria – where developmental football is not so strong– and going to Manchester City where he was able to hold his own among some of the biggest names in world football,” he continued.
“At Leicester City, it took him almost a season to blend in because at Leicester, their style of football is much quicker than where he was coming from.
“Those of us who know Iheanacho understand that he is not a fast player but a highly intelligent player, trust me, he will continue to improve and score goals if he gets regular playing opportunities.”
He added: “Before English football was suspended due to Covid-19, he got some goals and you will agree with me that he has greatly improved – a far difference from the time he joined the club.
“I can only hope that by next season, he gets his feet completely right and continues to deliver.
“For those writing him off, it is so early because I can tell you for free that his future is extremely bright because he has not started yet.”
So far this season, Iheanacho boasts eight goals across all competitions for Brendan Rodgers’ men, with three of them coming from the English top-flight.
Sports Minister Applauds IOC on Extension of Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers