With his impressive goal-scoring record now revealed, the stage is set for Kelechi Iheanacho to become Leicester City’s primary player.
He has been given two consecutive starts in the Premier League, scoring two goals and providing three assists in the team’s victories over Aston Villa and Spurs. Remarkably, he has scored in every match he has started up front this season.
A deeper analysis of Iheanacho’s Premier League career statistics shows that he has the tenth best rate of goal involvement among players who have made at least 150 appearances in the league’s history.
This puts him in esteemed company alongside legends like Thierry Henry, Sergio Aguero, Eric Cantona, and Didier Drogba, as well as current stars Mo Salah and Harry Kane.
Although many of Iheanacho’s goals and assists have come as a substitute, he is now part of a new-look front three with Tete and Harvey Barnes, providing him with numerous opportunities.
At 26 years old, he is no longer an inexperienced player, and manager Brendan Rodgers believes that this could be his moment to shine, describing him as “horrible” to play against.
“He’s been outstanding,” Brendan Rodgers said. “He’s a player that’s been really unfortunate. Jamie Vardy is a legend of the Premier League and this club and since I came in here, he’s been sort of the focal point really of the team. But of course, time moves on and it’s about managing Jamie now.
“Obviously for Kels with the players now that we have in, it really suits his game, how he links the game and so on. He’s at a prime age, so this can be his moment. He just needs to keep the level, the consistency and keep working hard. I’m delighted for him.
“He’s a threat, and he’s horrible to play against if you’re a centre-half because he’s so strong. He’s done great.”
Even though he has had few chances to play during the season, Iheanacho has immediately performed well when given a starting position. According to Rodgers, this is proof of how effectively he works during training sessions at Seagrave.
“You can’t come into the Premier League if you’re not training hard every day, it’s a league where you just can’t do it,” Rodgers said. “If he was going through the motions in training then he wouldn’t have the impact that he does.
“It’s a real tribute to his professionalism and how hard he’s worked. Now we have the balance in the team that really highlights his qualities.”