Premier League

Shakespeare Must Start To Trust Iheanacho

 • by James Nalton
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In terms of an ability to find the back of the net Kelechi Iheanacho was one of the best in the league.

During his time at Manchester City, where he played under Manuel Pellegrini as backup to star striker Sergio Agüero, he often knocked goals in coming from the bench in the Premier League, and regularly scored in the FA Cup games he started.

Since moving to Leicester City in the summer, however, his career has stalled somewhat, and he has been unable to produce his super-sub heroics for his new side. He is yet to get off the mark for the club, and though he has scored for the under-23 side, he has been behind Jamie Vardy, Islam Slimani, and Shinji Okazaki in the pecking order at senior level.

As a result of this lack of game time he has also found himself on the bench for his national team. But with Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup now secured he will be looking to work his way into the first-team plans at club level, with a view to making an impact in Russia next summer.

“Iheanacho has started to look stronger and fitter in training,” said Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare ahead of his side’s Monday night game against West Bromwich Albion.

A toe injury has meant he’s not been considered quite fit enough to start games, but the manager is happy to have players of Iheanacho’s ilk available for selection.

“We are now getting a fully fit squad back,” added Shakespeare. “There will be competition for places. We need that. We only have a few injuries now. If we want to change shape and be adaptable during games it is nice to have that.”

During the 2015/16 season he was second in Manchester City’s Premier League goal-scoring charts, and managed 14 in all competitions that season giving him an average of more than one goal per 90 minutes

The graphic below shows Iheanacho’s remarkable goal-scoring record during his time at City, and despite only appearing sporadically he was still able to settle into games quickly enough to allow himself to get involved in the goals.

If he can begin to provide this kind of return in his new City, then Shakespeare’s side will be able to stop worrying about the prospect of a relegation battle, and begin looking up the table rather than down it.

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