Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed his plans to improve ‘impressive’ Wilfred Ndidi’s performances.
The Nigeria international has majorly featured as a deep-lying midfielder for the Foxes since the return of the former Liverpool boss to England.
With a record 71 per cent of successful tackles from a total of 123 in the Premier League this season, Ndidi is currently ranked as one of the best tacklers in the English top-flight alongside Everton and Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
With scintillating midfield displays, Rodgers is hoping to help the Super Eagles midfielder – who has 34 appearances in all competitions this season – improve with his distribution and efficiency in the position.
“Watching him from the outside, he’s obviously a player that’s got good athletic ability and works very hard,” Rodgers told Leicester Mercury.
“I always have that sort of player, a clear, controlling player in the game. Sometimes they’re a defensive type like him that can really press the game and play simple, or sometimes it’s a more creative player, a playmaker from behind.
“For him, he’s got so much talent. Looking at his numbers he’s up there with having played the most games this season, with Kasper.
“All we try to do is make it clear what his function is in the team. It’s a job that may seem a simple job but he does it so effectively. He has to win the ball and give it, simple as that. He doesn’t need to be in the box shooting, that’s not your job.
“Look after the other two boys in front of you, and just control the space in front of the centre-halves. He does it so, so well.
“We’re trying to improve him in that position because you’re going to be on the ball a lot. You’ve got to serve it, serve it over 10 or 15 metres.
“So it’s just simplifying his game and trying to make him efficient. He’s been very impressive.”
Rodgers is convinced that the deep midfield role is still relevant in modern football at it helps the team regain possession of the ball.
“Very much so, you don’t get away with what you did years ago,” he added.
“Now it’s more about intercepting, blocking, very rarely will you have to go to ground.
“He covers the ground so fast. His anticipation is very good, he reads the game, he smells the danger, and then for Youri and for James and for other attacking midfield players, to have that type of player in there, it’s very important.”
Leicester City are placed seventh in the league standings with two points adrift of the Uefa Europa League qualification spot.
Following a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United last Friday, Leicester City will hope to return to winning ways when they visit West Ham United on Saturday.
On the international scene, Wilfred Ndidi’s Nigeria have been placed in Group B for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
They will need to navigate their way past Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi in Egypt to advance to the knockout round of Africa’s foremost football competition.