By Augustine Akhilomen
Having enjoyed series of brilliant performances in the colours of reigning Premier League champions, Leicester City, Super Eagles midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi is gradually proving his worth in England.
Despite joining the team during the winter transfer from Genk in the Belgian league in a deal worth £17 million, the former youth international has endear himself into the heart of most Foxes fans, who are still struggling to cope with the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea.
His superlative display against Sevilla in the Champions League has made some football pundits and analysts raise eyebrow on the Nigerian international, which has been compared to Kante.
With two Champions League and seven Premier League games on his belt, his presence in the team is gradually yielding effect in the team. In place of Kante’s Energizer bunny scurrying came Ndidi’s long-limbed contortionism; concerned, as was his predecessor, simply with winning the ball and laying it off to the more expansive ball players.
Besides, since joining the Foxes this winter, he has developed so quickly, making an impressive tackles, shielding the defence frequently, releasing passes in earnest and gradually developing the habit of scoring goals when the opportunity comes. After switching from central defence to central midfield at the beginning of last season, Ndidi became the Belgian outfit’s most important player with his ability to cover ground and break up opposition moves in the engine room.
However, should Ndidi replace Super Eagles captain and midfielder, Mikel Obi in the defensive role of the team knowing fully that the competitiveness of the Premier League can’t be compare to the Chinese Super League?
It didn’t really come as a surprise for most football enthusiasts in the country after Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr extended invitation to Ndidi as replacement for injured Mikel ahead of this month international friendly matches against Burkina Faso and Senegal in London.
The encounters could afford the former Nath Boys Academy the chance to pull the strings in the midfield, thereby proving a serious threat to Mikel’s starting role in the Super Eagles. Regardless of his young age, Ndidi could become a long term replacement for Mikel considering the fact that, age is no longer on his side.
There is little doubt that Ndidi has potential to become a true world-class defensive midfielder. His ball-winning skills are supreme and his tackles superb – most of them are clean and perfectly timed, as evidenced by the fact he is yet to be sent off.
Ndidi’s mentality is described as perfect by everyone. He is a true team player, unselfish and ready to help his team-mates. He is disciplined tactically, works hard in training and always follows instructions on the pitch. His friendly character made Maes describe him as a “golden boy”.