Kelechi Iheanacho has expressed how delighted he was to be back among the goals after enduring a difficult ten months.
The former U-17 World Cup Golden Ball winner was unsurprisingly dropped by coach Gernot Rohr from the Super Eagles squad that competed at and won bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, after an uninspiring season with the Foxes.
The Nigerian forward, however, ended his 10-month drought when he headed in the second goal of Leicester City’s 3-0 pre-season win over Cambridge.
The 22-year-old thereafter bagged a brace in Leicester City’s 2-2 draw against Rotherham United in their pre-season friendly encounter at the AESSEAL Stadium just four days later.
“I am delighted, I am happy getting two goals today,” Iheanacho said after the game against Rotherham United.
“Hopefully I can take that into the season.
“I think it’s important for my confidence. It has been a long time coming, but I am happy again. I think I can take it fully into the season.
“We have a big squad, so many players who are good footballers. Everyone is competing and fighting for a place.”
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers admitted to seeing a rejuvenated Kelechi since the club’s preseason training began and challenged the former Manchester City striker to take that same form into the season proper.
“What (Kelechi) has to do, and I’m sure he will, is take his training form into the games,” Rodgers told LeicestershireLive.
3⃣ goals in 2⃣ games for Iheanacho! pic.twitter.com/DzPG4yK3Co
— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 27, 2019
“He’s been absolutely top class in training over pre-season, he’s been amazing. When we were away in Evian and he played in the practice game, he scored four goals out of five. He was sensational.
“He needs to take that into games. That’s key for him and I’m sure he’ll do that.”
The former Liverpool manager, though, understands the tough conditions under which Iheanacho is expected to deliver.
“It’s difficult. You have to respect his position. He’s a support striker for one of the best strikers in the Premier League. It’s not easy.
“All he can do is continue to work and work well and when the opportunities come, he’s got to take them.
“Once they start to go in, he’ll gain more confidence from that.”
Leicester City assistant coach Chris Davies was also full of praise for the Nigerian who has banged in three goals in just two friendly matches.
“(I’m) Very pleased,” Davies said after Saturday’s game at the New York Stadium.
“Kel (Iheanacho) is a threat. He’s got a lot of attribute, (he’s) quick, strong, has a good technique, he’s a finisher, and it’s difficult.
“He’s playing second fiddle really to one of the Premier League’s best striker’s in Vards, so he has to be patient, he has to do his best to develop himself through training.
“He’s been doing that. He’s come back hungry and strong, he scored a hat-trick in a pre-season training game the other day and now he’s done that today.
“He scored two, he could have had more and to be fair the goals he did score, he took them very well. There are a couple more he could have scored but we need goals and it’s really promising.”
Kelechi Iheanacho has managed just four goals in 44 appearances for the Foxes and will hope those numbers will be improved on when the English League kicks off in August.