By Kayode Ogundare: Super Eagles coach Gernot Rorh has reiterated the indispensability of Leicester City of England forward Kelechi Iheanacho to his World Cup plans despite the player’s limited playing time for his English Premier League side, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Speaking exclusively to Complete Sports, the German coach revealed that Iheanacho’s never-say-die attitude, his big heart and team spirit make it virtually impossible for him to be dropped from the Russia 2018-bound team.
“For us he’s a very important player. He’s able to make the difference and he has a good fighting spirit,” Rohr told CSN.
“He helps the team when we have difficulties. I remember the match in Krasnodar, Russia against Argentina. We were trailing two goals and he scored a very important goal in the last minute to help us stay in the game. He never gives up and I like the fact that he can be powerful and efficient in corners and free kicks too. I like his will to win.”
He also advanced reasons why the former Manchester City forward has struggled for game time and goals since moving to the Foxes.
Rohr added: “You see it is not easy for a goalscorer to score all the time, especially if he’s changed clubs because it’s a new environment with new players around. He needs time to adjust and adapt his game to his new team. We are happy that he’s playing so many games now which is good and he’s scored a couple of goals. He’s a fighter and that’s one of the things I like about him. He’s a natural left-footer and we don’t have so many like that in our team. When you see the free-kick he scored in the friendly against Argentina to give us our first goal, you’ll know he can be very efficient for the team in tight situations.”
The Nigeria manager revealed that he had to call on his friendship with Leicester City manager Claude Puel to find out why Iheanacho had seen more time on the bench than on the pitch and how their discussion has benefitted the 22-year old former Golden Eaglets star.
“I have a very good relationship with my friend Claude Puel (Leicester City coach) and he told me that Iheanacho is working very hard at training sessions and that he just needs to work on his right foot. But overall, Puel said his mentality is okay for the game,” Rohr explained..
Iheanacho has been the most productive Super Eagles player under Rorh with six goals from 11 games. He had scored two in four games for Rorh’s predecessor Sunday Oliseh.