Iheanacho reflects on Leicester City struggles & Nigerian reveals ambition with club and country

The Nigeria international has opened up about the difficulties he encountered during the early years of his Foxes career

Kelechi Iheanacho has vowed to “continue to grow” after shaking off the shackles that held him back during a testing time at Leicester City.

Having been deemed surplus to requirement at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the 24-year-old joined the Foxes on a five-year contract worth a reported £25 million.

However, he found himself playing catch-up due to several disappointing performances which led to some critics questioning Brendan Rodgers’ wisdom in keeping the player at the King Power Stadium.

But he finally looks to be repaying his manager’s faith in his ability by netting 18 goals in 36 appearances to overtake Jammie Vardy as club’s top scorer this season.

Reflecting on his struggles to BBC Sport Africa, Iheanacho said: “I think a lot of people wrote me off, but I never lost faith in myself.

“I was going through a crazy and difficult time when things just didn’t work out for me.

“But I’ve worked extremely hard, and also have the manager and other staff at Leicester, and most importantly my brother and friend Wilfred [Ndidi] who stood by me.

“It’s been a really tough ride, but I’m just delighted it’s all come together for me.”

Kelechi Iheanacho Nigeria 2018

His below par performances not only cost him a place in the Leicester squad but he was also axed from Gernot Rohr’s Nigeria team to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad staged in Egypt.

Having returned in blazing form, he promised to keep making progress while aspiring to always help his club and country whenever he is called upon.

He added: “It was truly a bad patch and we all know that some people are always too quick to judge,” he continued.

“To hear some people come out now and start saying positive things again is only normal but I don’t even bother.

“I only have to prove to myself that I can do this consistently, continue to grow, help my club and country when I get the chance to play.

“We have a lot ahead of us. It’s that time of the season where you want to fight for everything in front of you and not get carried away.”

Alongside Vardy, the African is expected to lead the Foxes’ attacking line-up against Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

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