Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi has heaped praise on Kelechi Iheanacho but admits there is little chance of him making the Super Eagles’ 2014 World Cup squad.
Iheanacho was immense for Nigeria in their U17 World Cup triumph, scoring six goals and winning the golden ball after being named the best player in the tournament.
And while Keshi admits the youngster has been impressive at U/17 level, he is unsure as to whether Iheanacho would cope on the big stage should he be included in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
“He is a fantastic player and he has very good qualities to become one of the best footballers in the world from his performance at the Under-17 World Cup,” Keshi told SuperSport.
“But we need to ask if he is ready to play at the very highest level of football right now considering the weight of expectation that might follow such.
“It should be recognised that the Under-17 tournament is a developmental phase for Kelechi and other players in that team.”
The Super Eagles coach added that Iheanacho will likely be left out of the squad, but has backed the 17-year-old to develop into a brilliant player.
“What he needs now is to start playing regularly for a team so that he remains in top shape as a footballer and continue to develop into top class footballer,” Keshi added.
“As for considering him for the World Cup camp, that doesn’t look real right now.”