“When he picks the ball up, the rest is just magic” – Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers praises in-form Kelechi Iheanacho

Leicester City gaffer Brendan Rodgers has heaped praises on Kelechi Iheanacho following the Nigerian’s man-of-the-match performance in the Foxes’ comeback victory over Crystal Palace at King Power Stadium on Monday.

Iheanacho set up Timothy Castagne to score the equaliser after Wilfred Zaha had given the visitors a 12-th minute lead, before netting the winner to take his tally in all competitions to 14 in his last 14 games for the club.

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The Nigerian connected with Johnny Evans’ long ball, cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed an unstoppable effort past Vicente Guaita and into the roof of the net for the winner, which moved the Foxes up to third — and seven points clear of fifth-placed West Ham — as the top-four race hots up.

Commenting on Iheanacho’s spectacular winning goal, Rodgers said: “But Kels (Kelechi Iheanacho), when he picks the ball up, the rest is just magic, really. It’s just quality and a sign of his confidence.”

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The Nigerian has fluorished in a 4-4-2 formation that sees him play alongside Jamie Vardy up front.

Last season, the pair only started eight games together and did not do so this campaign until 28 February.

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Apparently, Rodgers’ decision to switch to the new formation was only because of injuries to James Maddison and others.

But having seen the formation produce results, it looks unlikely that the former Celtic manager would consider something different in the near future.

Many have attributed Iheanacho’s brilliant scoring form to the Foxes’ new style.

Former England international Karen Carney  is one of those who share the thought. He said: “I think Iheanacho’s confidence has come because he knows when he plays he’s not going to get substituted for Jamie Vardy.

“As a player you’re always looking over your shoulder thinking you are going to get taken off.

“But because he’s playing next to Jamie Vardy he’s confident and that one goal turns into two and three.”

Rodgers, though, said: “He’s actually, believe it or not, a really good player who’s getting an opportunity,” when asked what was behind the Nigerian international’s incredible run in front of goal.

 

Mfoniso Williams

Passionate Nigerian football writer who, for many years, has travelled across Nigeria to cover league games.

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