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Rodgers: Iheanacho Can Shoot Himself Out Of Vardy’s Shadow

Rodgers: Iheanacho Can Shoot Himself Out Of Vardy’s Shadow

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers believes Kelechi Iheanacho has the potential to replace Jamie Vardy as the Foxes’ main striker, Completesports.com reports.

Iheanacho, 23, has played second fiddle to Vardy since joining Leicester from Manchester City in 2017.

The Nigeria international had to wait until December before making his first league appearance for Rodgers’ side this season.

The versatile forward has netted twice in his last three games for Leicester and is finally showing why the former Premier League champions paid Manchester City £25m for his services three years ago.

Rodgers, who admitted he’s admired Iheanacho from the first day he walked into the club stated that there is no reason the young forward can’t step into Vardy’s boot one day.

“With Kel it’s a question of confidence. He came in from Man City and into a position where you have such an iconic figure in Jamie Vardy playing there,” Rodgers told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

Read Also: Iheanacho: Leicester City Ready For Top-Four Battle

“I liked his talent from the outside looking in before I came here. He scored goals for City and you can see his raw talent.

“But he needed to develop and grow in confidence and gradually that has grown. You can see the appreciation of the supporters for him. The crowd really respond to him.”

Rodgers further adds: “It was a question of working on his strengths. He’s a powerful boy. He’s strong, aggressive, he naturally wants to work hard.

“It’s given him clarity, when he plays, what’s expected of him when he has and hasn’t got the ball. I speak to him a lot.

“He’s been a very important player for us this season and has scored valuable goals.”

“Then it’ll be over to people like Kels or anyone else to come in and take on that mantle.”

By Adeboye Amosu

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  • You are the one putting him in his shadow. He wasn’t bought to deputise for Vardy. You can create space to play both together.

  • Chairmanfemi 4 years ago

    Yeye man. Talk…talk..talk! Yet wetin e go do dey hin mind which is half-fit Vardy over Ihenacho anytime anyday. So what’s the essence of making the boy feel like he’s loved?? If Rodgers truly likes Nacho’s talent, tell him to go to a Club where he’s assured playtime and not playing Second fiddle to a Semi-god in a Club

  • KangA 4 years ago

    How’s Rogers best described? Doublespeak. Why holds talented player captivity, to be subservient to a not her player? Better deal with Kelechi as a player who has turned the corner in his own right OR let him check out to a club HE CAN PLAY. I’m hearing echos of I CAN’T PLAY coming out as I can’t breathe!

    Let him go! 

  • You don’t have confidence in him thats why he hasn’t given you better results. You keep favouring someone because he’s British

  • Pompei 4 years ago

    English talent will always be given priority in the premiership, unless the foreign player demonstrates “head and shoulders” superiority. Check out what is happening at Everton, for example. Former Barca centerback Yerry Mina on the bench for Englishman Holgate? Ancelloti is either high, or under pressure to start the English lad. And that is just one of dozens of examples of quality foreigners sitting on the bench for English lads. Not just in the premiership, but throughout English football. A crippled Vardy will start ahead of Iheanacho anyday, anytime. Kele’s only hope is that Rodgers should keep playing 2 strikers. Otherwise, back to the bench he goes!

  • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

    Lets stop being sentimental about Kelechi’s situation in LCFC. No coach will continue to play an under-performing player just because he is English. A crippled Vardy still comes with more consistency, carries more goal threat, and contributes more to the overall play of the team than Kelechi. Its Vardy we are talking about here….a 33yr old who has been among the top goal getters in the EPL for almost 5 seasons now. A 1 goal in 2 games striker for LCFC. A 33 yr old who looks far fitter, has a stronger “engine” and is always looking more dangerous on the pitch than Iheanacho. If Kele is not first choice in LCFC because of an Englishman, is he also out of international reckoning because of an Englishman….? Was he also offloaded from Mancity because of an Englishman….? Was his replacement G.Jesus an Englishman…..? Is Ndidi not in the same club as Kelechi…? Why is he also not on the bench for an Englishman.
    It is normal for every nation to think of their own first, that is why most leagues have a certain quota of foreigners a club can sign or can start a game, but it never is at the expense of performance. When Kelechi starts applying himself more like a real 23yr old should, then he will stand a chance. Most times when he starts with Vardy, you will be mistaken to think Vardy is the 23 yr old and Kele the 33 yr old of the two.

    • Mr Hush 4 years ago

      @Dr Drey

      One thing I respect is your stance on objectivity rather than condescending to sentiments; there is nothing more blinding than sentiments.
      You hit the nail on the head. I can’t but agree more with you.

      We should understand, Brendan Rodgers is there to do a job not to huggle around towards feelings. He has to chose the best at a point in time and chose whatever suits his style as long as it gives him results. Jamie Vardy goals has gone a long way this season to take Leicester city where they are right now ( on the verge of champions league football). I dare ask this question, if the reverse was the case and Vardy was a Nigerian ,would we still share the same sentiments towards him,of Nacho being benched?
      This is a man that is leading the Premiership top scorers list . Rodgers is just trusting in Vardy’s precedence and consistency. Even if Vardy doesn’t score,he is always a threat.
      That said, we should understand that Leicester city’s preferred formation was built all around Vardy ,(a 4-1-2-2-1; basically a 4-3-3 ); it is a formation that has worked considerably well. To Rodgers good, he tried to tweak it sometimes to fix in Iheanacho to the frame , trying a 3-5-2 and a 4-4-2 in different matches; the last match against Chelsea comes to mind. But both formation didn’t really work. Leicester didn’t play as good, so there have to be a reversal to their preferred formation which unfortunately put Nacho back on the bench.
      It has nothing to do with conspiracy against Kelechi on the part of Rodgers but more so that ;
      1. The formation doesn’t work with two man upfront .
      2. In this point in time,Vardy is preferable choice and his numbers shows a better striker.
      3. Vardy’s consistency.

      The joy is whenever Iheanacho comes in , he does his job well. He has good goal to time ratio. He shows he takes his chances when the time came. He should just keep been consistent to that effect and it would definitely come good.
      Make no mistake,Iheanacho is highly rated , even by the manager;hence why he wasn’t sent on loan like Islam Slimani and Rachid Ghezzal; 2 good forwards (ironically both Algerians) that Leicester city bought with good money.
      The fact Leicester city is in the market looking for a striker, is not to replace Iheanacho but to shore up their width and prepare for life after Vardy ( he is 33).
      Though he can play there,Iheanacho is not an out to out striker,so he is always safe but with more consistency and determination, he can get to hold his own when the time comes.
      If he feels uncomfortable at Leicester ( although in the contrary, he says he is happy there), he can go else where, as long as he keeps his consistency.

    • Abdul 4 years ago

      Dr. Drey thank you for your insightful piece. However, i slightly disagree with some of the points mentioned. In all fairness, Iheanacho deserves more game time, trust me. Firstly, the tactical structure of the team is only to support Vardy’s type of player (the huge pace for the long ball sauce). Iheanacho is defintely a different player, and anytime he plays in the absence of Vardy he always struggles to get things done all by himself (as vardy does). Secondly, in their recent games where he appears in formations to play alongside Vardy upfront, practically, this has not been true. The guy plays behind Vardy, so that the latter wouldn’t have to fall back to support the team when not in possession (Especially when they play top teams). Even in these situations, the guy still make couple of on-target shots through his rigorous runs between the two halves (you can check couple of their recent games).
      With all due respect, in the last couple of games (apart from his recent two goals), J. Vardy has not been the usuall Vardy we all know, and that’s one the major problem the team is facing right now (aside Madison’s absence). The coach could not bench him because nobody in the bench can suits this style. No player gets better from not playing, and a playing iheanacho would have been a different beast in a different tactics.
      On why he had to leave Man city because G.Jesus was preferred. Hmmnnn… this is a very difficult assumption. The decision must have boiled down to Gaudiola’s preference, and that doesn’t simply translate to G. Jesus being a better player. Don’t forget he also let Yaya toure leave Barcelona, and the latter still triumphed that much in EPL.
      However, with all these being said, Iheanacho have a lot to prove to stay in the top league, and this can only be done by adding consistency, hard-work and bunch of technicalities to his arsenal.

    • Pompei 4 years ago

      “A crippled Vardy still comes with more consistency, carries more goal threat, and contributes more to the overall play of the team than Kelechi”

      My point exactly. We can’t expect Rodgers to bench Vardy, an Englishman who happens to be more productive on the pitch than Iheanacho. Ndidi’s case is different because the guy has proven himself to be “head and shoulders” better than his competition Choudry and others in the Leicester team. If Harry Winks or Declan Rice for example were to move to Leicester next season, the situation changes with the presence of English talent that is closer to Ndidi’s. Chances are that Ndidi would drop to the bench in that scenario. Not because they are better than him. But because they are English.
      Talking about Man City, Iheanacho was offloaded, but a certain Phil Foden was kept in the squad. Is it because Foden is the next superstar? Hehehehehe! It’s because he’s English! Look at what is happening at Chelsea – Gilmour benching Jorginho. Granted, Jorginho is no giant in the midfield. I’m not a fan of the lad. But to bench Jorginho for Gilmour? That is a classic demonstration of what I’m saying. Englishman Tammy is above Batshuayi in the striking pecking order? What! Are you kidding me? The list goes on! If you are a foreigner, you better be far better than your English competition. Otherwise, you will be warming the bench, while the Englishman starts. So it’s not sentiment my brother, it’s the situation on ground.

  • Collins id 4 years ago

    Iheanacho is not a striker! And can never be prefered above a natural striker wether white or black. That is why rohr was not satisfied with is performance as a striker and ighalo took that advantage despite coming from china and iheanacho playing mancity. Iheanacho is a playmaker like ziyech and mahrez. Is best performance for eagles was against tazania and zambia plus egypt (as a supporting striker) the rest games where he was giving the top 9 position the guy floped. You cant play dele ali as a striker or son as a striker becos they can score goals. Iheanacho can score when he is not expected and predicted that makes him dangerouse playmaker. Trying to point 9 him will kill is hilariouse carear.

  • Well and perfectly said by Collins Id.That has been the truth and sadly the wrong befalling Iheanacho’s career with the so called ill-fated Number 9 position for all I care.His best position is directly behind the striker any thing else will spell doom for this precious talent we have in Kelechi (Promise) Iheanacho.

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