–Flying Eagles coach tips Man City teenager for greatness
Nigeria Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has told AfricanFootball.com he is not surprised by Kelechi Iheanacho’s man-of-the match showing for Manchester City in Thursday morning’s pre-season tie because the player is good enough to play for a bigger club like Real Madrid.
Nigeria U20 forward Iheanacho crowned a five-star display for Manchester City with a superb goal in a 4-1 pre-season win over Sporting Kansas City.
The Golden Ball winner at the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup in UAE placed his first-time shot inside the near post with a left-footed strike from 20 yards out with an assist from Navas for the fourth and final goal of the match in the 88th minute.
Kansas City goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum denied Iheanacho twice in the first half and the Nigeria starlet was on till 90+2 minutes, when he paved way for Jason Denayer.
“I’m not surprised at all by what Iheanacho has shown because if given the chance, he can play for any team in the world like Real Madrid,” said Nigeria U20 coach Manu.
“He already has the technique to flourish at the highest level and the only thing the more established players at City could have over him is experience.”
Manu said Iheanacho’s biggest asset is his composure and clinical finishing around the box.
“At his age, his finishing around the box puts him in a class of his own. He scores five goals in a training. Once you give him the space and allow him to control the ball around the goal area, he could convert three of the five chances he gets. He is that good.”
The Flying Eagles coach told AfricanFootball.com he believes his performance against Kansas City will improve his self-belief.
“His performance (vs Kansas City) will give him even more confidence to step up his game,” he said.
Next month, the Flying Eagles will host Lesotho in a final African Youth Championship qualifier and coach manu said he expects Iheanacho to rejoin the team at least two weeks to the August 16 clash.
“We have asked City we need the player back with us at least two weeks before our qualifier, but if that is not possible, we could still have him a week before the game as long as he is playing regularly for his club,” said the coach.