Pulse.ng logo

Wilfred Ndidi Nigerian midfielder is the best tackler in Europe

Ndidi keeps catching the eye since his move to Leicester Cit in 2017.

  • Published:
Wilfred Ndidi play Wilfred Ndidi is the best tackler in Europe (Twitter/Leicester City)

Nigerian and Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has more successful tackles in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.

According to stats gatherers Squawka, Ndidi has made 91 successful tackles more than any other player from the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and La Liga.


More impressively for the 21-year-old, he has 18 more than Everton’s Idrissa Gueye who is the second best tackler in Europe’s top five leagues. 

Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Bruno Zuculini (Verona) and Fabinho (Monaco) make up the top five.

The Nigerian midfielder has made 22 league appearances for Leicester City so far this season and in these 1,951 minutes he spent on the pitch, he has made 148 tackles.

Catching the eye

Ndidi is currently catching the eye in Europe since his move to Leicester City from Belgian side Genk in January 2017.

He arrived in England amidst troubles at Leicester City who were in danger of relegation just a season after they won a historic Premier League title.

Wilfred Ndidi play Wilfred Ndidi has been catching the eye in Europe since his move to Leicester City in 2017 (Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

ALSO READ: Wilfred Ndidi is among top Nigerian transfers of 2017

The midfielder took to the Premier League like a duck to water and has been one of the most consistent performers in English top flight.

Despite three managerial changes in Leicester City since his arrival,  the 20-year-old has remained one of the first names on Leicester City’s starting XI.

He has only missed one Premier League game since he arrived in Leicester City, that’s how important he is.

Strengths and weaknesses

Ndidi is undoubtedly a fantastic tackler, the Squawka stat already proves that and that’s his greatest strength.

The Nigerian midfielder was signed to replace N’golo Kante, another excellent tackler who joined Chelsea after helping Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016.

French player Nampalys Mendy was initially signed to replace his compatriot but he struggled to make any impact at Leicester.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Wilfred Ndidi play Wilfred Ndidi is well rated when compared to world class midfielders (Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Then came Ndidi with his great engine, covering everywhere in midfield to help in Leicester City’s recovery in the Premier League.

In addition to the number of his tackles won, Ndidi has made 29 interceptions more than Sergio Busquet who has 25. He is also not far off in comparison to world-class midfielders like N’Golo Kante (36) and Fernandinho (34).

In attack, Ndidi also offers much, making a total of 21 shots outside the area more than Kante, Fernandinho and Busquet. He also trumps them in a number of clearances and blocks.

He has created eight chances this season in the league, the same as Busquet but more than the likes of Kante and Fernandinho.

Wilfred Ndidi in comparison to other midfielders play Wilfred Ndidi is well rated when compared to world class midfielders (Squawka )


He has three assists, same as Fernandino and more than Busquet (2) and Kante (0).

Where Ndidi needs work the most is with the ball. He has less successful passes more than the aforementioned midfielders and spends less time with the ball.

He also has a problematic knack of always being far away from danger as a defensive midfielder.

His inexperience shows with the way he presses and often times leave spaces in between his defence.

What next for him

Ndidi has had critical acclaim in England already.

Despite a Leicester City 3-0 loss to Manchester United in a league game last season, he was still voted Man of the Match of the game by BBC.

While reviewing the game, respected pundit Gary Neville also praised the performance of the Nigerian midfielder and pointed out that he neutralised the threat of Paul Pogba.

I can’t fault his (Ndidi) performance, he was very big in the game. He made Pogba a passenger in the middle,” Neville said.

Wilfred Ndidi and Paul Pogba play Wilfred Ndidi has once been linked with Manchester United ( Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


The boy is good in tackles and he is not afraid of running with the ball either.

He got Pogba booked and was fouled severally, that said I can’t remember when he fouled any opponent. He did well despite how poor his team were on the day.”

Just this week, the Super Eagles midfield enforcer was ranked among the top 100 most valuable players in Europe by statisticians at the CIES Football Observatory.

Ndidi whose market value was estimated at €77.4 million is number 51 on the list and just one of four African players in it.

He was once linked with a move to Manchester United which he had to shut down himself but it's a matter of time before a big club comes calling.

Ndidi has the 2018 FIFA World Cup to look forward to and a fantastic campaign from him and the Super Eagles will only make the move happen sooner.

Either way, the young Nigerian midfielder is destined for great things.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.