Kelechi Iheanacho’s Leicester City career hasn’t gone to plan so far but the arrival of Brendan Rodgers could potentially reinvigorate the Super Eagles star.
The striker has scored just four times in 44 appearances since signing a five-year contract in August 2017 but he’s had limited opportunities to impress in recent months.
The Foxes’ recent form could see them return to Europe next season and, if Rodgers’ men are to book their place in the Europa League, it is likely to result in increased squad rotation. Iheanacho could be one of the many fringe players to benefit from more minutes on the pitch as a result.
The Foxes are no strangers to European football, having reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2017. If the club are able to finish seventh, and Manchester City lift the FA Cup in May, European football will return to the King Power Stadium during the 2019-2020 campaign.
They have won four of their first five games under the former Celtic boss, although they still have a number of tough fixtures left to play. However, optimism remains high in the camp, and fans are confident that Rodgers is the man to move the club forward.
Leicester face stiff competition from Wolves and in-form Watford, and are currently priced at 7/2 in the latest football betting to finish in the top six. They certainly aren’t short of goals, with a rejuvenated Jamie Vardy looking like a man reborn since Brendan Rodgers’ arrival. He’s netted five times in his last five games and has been described as ‘world class’ by his new boss. James Maddison also appears to be playing with more freedom under the new regime, and he looks set for a bright future at the King Power.
Whilst Vardy has been free-scoring, Kelechi Iheanacho has been forced to watch his team-mates’ heroics from the bench. He has played just nine minutes of Premier League football since Rodgers arrived at the club, and he looks visibly frustrated. His last top-flight goal came on September 22nd against Huddersfield, and the striker looks bereft of confidence at the minute. However, the former Liverpool boss has praised Iheanacho’s professionalism, describing him as having a ‘wonderful appetite’ for learning.
Rodgers told reporters that the £25million recruit has responded well to recent training sessions, and that bodes well for Iheanacho’s future at the club.
Despite being criticised by Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr, the forward does have a decent record at international level. He hasn’t found the net for Nigeria since November 2017 and wasn’t involved in a recent friendly against Egypt, but he’s netted seven times in total for his country. Rohr insisted that Iheanacho will be involved in the upcoming African Cup of Nations, confirming that he will have a “massive part to play.”
It’s been far from plain sailing for Kelechi Iheanacho in recent years, and he’s been unable to establish himself as a first choice under three different managers since signing for Leicester City.
However, he appears to be highly rated by Brendan Rodgers, and with European football potentially on the agenda next season, he is likely to get plenty of opportunities to shine during the 2019-2020 campaign. It’s been a tough couple of years for the 22-year old but the Europa League may offer him the opportunity to recapture his form and help him get his promising career back on track.