Opinion: Iheanacho must deliver for Leicester City in the absence of Vardy

Opinion: Iheanacho must deliver for Leicester City in the absence of Vardy

Leicester City will go into their next two Premier League fixtures against Southampton and Liverpool and Carabao Cup tie versus Fleetwood Town without talisman Jamie Vardy.

Vardy picked up a three-match suspension after being shown a straight red card in Leicester’s 2-0 win over Wolves last Saturday for a dangerous tackle on Matt Doherty.

With the England international unavailable, manager Claude Puel is now likely to call upon Kelechi Iheanacho, who must seize the opportunity with both hands.

Much was expected from Iheanacho after his £25m (via BBC Sport) move from Manchester City to Leicester last August, but the 21-year-old has not lived up to his price tag and has found it difficult to retain a starting XI spot.

Iheanacho’s performances did start to pick up in the latter part of the previous campaign; however, he has still not been at the level people would have been expecting to see from a £25m player.

In Vardy’s absence, though, £13.5m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Iheanacho has the chance to gather some momentum and really stake a claim for a place in Puel’s first XI.

But to do that, Iheanacho has to offer the team more when leading the line.

The Nigeria international is a fantastic poacher, which he often showed during his time at Manchester City.

However, Iheanacho’s overall game — specifically his hold-up play — desperately needs refining.

The former Manchester City man tends to give the ball away when his back is towards goal, resulting in the team gaining back possession before starting a counter-attack.

As a poacher, playing with his back towards goal is definitely not Iheanacho’s game. But it is something that he will need to work on if he is to succeed as a lone striker at a club like Leicester.

Ultimately, with Vardy suspended, it is now or never for Iheanacho.

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