Leicester City new manager, Brendan Rodgers, has vowed to ease pressure on Kelechi Iheanacho and ensure that the Nigerian striker enjoy his football again in a bid to end his goal drought.
Rodgers has tasked himself with improving every member of the City squad, including helping Iheanacho rediscover his scoring touch which appears to be one of his biggest challenges following a difficult campaign for former Manchester City forward.
The £25million signing has not found the net for almost six months, his last goal coming in a 3-1 win over Huddersfield in September.
Rodgers said: “I think it’s about improving every player; I’ve always seen that as my job,”
“It’s been hard for Kelechi because he’s come in and he’s been a secondary striker at Manchester City, all of a sudden he makes a move for big money and I think everyone can see the potential.
“But he’s come into one of the top strikers in the league (Jamie Vardy) and I think it’s very hard to displace that. But it’s just a case of adapting to these new players.
He further said that his job is not to put them in a trap of pressure and take that away from them that they should enjoy football, but ultimately their first job is to press and work hard, from that what can you add into your game?”
However, he insists that Iheanacho can only play as the leading man, a role Vardy has nailed down, making it more difficult to find a solution to the Nigerian’s woes.
He described Kelechi as a great talent but he’s a number nine and that he is not one who can play on the sides or come in.
That some strikers he has worked with can shuffle them about and slide them around to make it work – but Kelechi is a number nine and that’s it and they already have a good number nine.
He advises Kelechi that he has got a fight to get ahead but there may be another system to make it work, like a diamond.
He talks about his team that he will like them to defend forward,” said Rodgers. “The set-up was good, so we had a good base, and Ndidi nips in, anticipates and gets a touch on it.
“But I like him, he’s a good boy. He’s got a good mentality and he does a lot of the dirty work that people perhaps don’t see.”
He concluded his words by describing Kelechi as a good boy but he needs to tidy up his feet, he has got good agility, he gets around the pitch, he breaks the game up, he does all the dirty work, but then when he has the ball, it’s just improving his ability to make the first pass.