Kelechi Iheanacho finished the season with his impact hailed by Leicester City fans, but that was not always the case for the Nigerian.
Iheanacho bagged 16 goals in the final three months of the campaign to help City win the FA Cup and keep up their battle for a Champions League, the 24-year-old eventually finishing with a tally of 19 to end Jamie Vardy’s five-year streak as the club’s top scorer.
But rewind two years and Iheanacho was in a difficult period. Iheanacho finished the 2018-19 season with just two goals to his name, and amid a goal drought that would eventually last 12 months.
Midway through the campaign, during the final few months of Claude Puel’s tenure, Iheanacho’s appearances as a substitute were met by boos from sections of the City fanbase.
The striker described the experience of being jeered by the club’s own supporters as “draining” but said he never lost faith that his career would turn a corner.
“As a player you face trials in your football career,” he told the BBC earlier this month. “It came at that time for me.
“It’s draining in that position as a player, but I’m always a happy boy and I’m always working hard.
“I was really strong mentally to keep training hard and not to lose my mind, to focus, to help the team to achieve the goal that the team wants, so that was the most important thing.
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“I had faith in God that one day it was going to be fine, something was going to work out for good. It is working out now, so I thank God for that. I will keep working hard to help the team.”
Helping Iheanacho through the tough times was Wilfred Ndidi. The midfielder, who arrived at the King Power Stadium six months before Iheanacho, has been a friend since their days in Nigeria’s youth set-up.
Ndidi has been someone Iheanacho can rely on for support, and someone to share a joke with.
“We’ve been really close for a long time, since the Under-17s until now,” Iheanacho said.
“He’s really funny and he cracks me up every single time. He helps me a lot.
“Most importantly during my trying times, he really helped me a lot, he talks to me and he is always there, in training and at home. He used to come to mine, and I used to go to his, before lockdown. He speaks to me a lot so we are really close like that.
“He said he wasn’t surprised that I’m scoring goals because he always believed it was going to happen. He is really a good friend of mine.”
It was also Ndidi that came up with the nickname ‘Seniorman’ by which Iheanacho is now known throughout his homeland.Fastest Paying Betting Site in Nigeria: Grab your 140% First Time Deposit Bonus Now — www.Sportybet.Com Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.