Kelechi Iheanacho's budding reputation as a potent finisher was definitely not done any harm during the just-concluded international break. The Leicester City forward helped Nigeria overcome the Lone Stars of Liberia with two quickfire goals in their World Cup Qualifiers fixture.
Iheanacho may hold the keys to unlocking Manchester City's defence
The Leicester City forward is in a rich vein of form at the moment. One that has seen him score against this weekend's opponents in this season's curtain-raising Community Shield game.
His first-half brace helped Nigeria secure the three points with minimal fuss while also helping him stake a claim to secure a starting role in the Foxes' fixture against Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend.
The Super Eagle developed a great striking partnership with Jamie Vardy towards the tail end of last season. His goals helped Leicester hold on dearly to their fifth-placed finish that was almost lost in the face of the debilitating injuries suffered by Brendan Rodger's squad in the second half of last season.
'Seniorman', as he is fondly called by his teammates, has already opened his account for the season against this weekend's visitors in the season's traditional opening fixture with his lone goal that helped him and his teammates to this season's first piece of silverware.
Even though Rodgers does not like to play two strikers if he has an alternative, the unpredictability, and verve that Iheanacho brings to the side can prove too much to be ignored.
Against the top-level opposition that Man City is, one that can not be allowed too much time on the ball, the physicality that the Nigerian’s play brings will definitely be a plus for the Foxes at the King Power Stadium this weekend.
Competition for places is however very stiff nowadays in East Midlands, with the return of injured stars coupled with the very astute additions to the squad in attacking positions. Prolific Zambian international, Patson Daka, who recently joined from RB Salzburg will also be a direct threat to Iheanacho’s spot in the jostle for places in the starting eleven.
The West African’s reputation for digging his manager out of tight spots like he did in the Community Shield will however ensure that he at least gets to feature even if a starting berth may be beyond him now.
The former Liverpool manager maintains strong faith in the Nigerian as he stated after his performance against City earlier in the season.
“I know when I came here that there were probably times when there were grumbles if he was playing but he has very quickly won over people. That is just through hard work, resilience and talent. What you are seeing is a young player at the top of his game.”
The fixture against City comes after the bitter 4-1 defeat at West Ham United. Rodgers' men got their season back on track with a 2-1 win at Norwich City before the international break and they’ll hope to consolidate with a draw at least against the high-scoring champions.
Will Iheanacho fire the Foxes to yet another victory against old friends on Saturday?
Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.
Follow him on Twitter @theReal_SeyE
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