Football

Nwankwo Kanu: Kelechi Iheanacho’s renaissance a big lesson

Former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo Kanu, is pleased with how Kelechi Iheanacho rediscovered his goalscoring instincts at Leicester City after struggling for form earlier in the season.

Former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo Kanu, is pleased with how Kelechi Iheanacho rediscovered his goalscoring instincts at Leicester City after struggling for form earlier in the season.

Before the New Year, Iheanacho started just two Premier League matches without finding the back of the net but he managed to score three goals for the Foxes in the Europa League group stage.

He has turned his struggles around with starring performances for Brendan Rodgers’ team that helped them win the FA Cup on Saturday after defeating Chelsea 1-0.

With his current goalscoring form, the former Inter Milan and Ajax star disclosed that Iheanacho is among the best strikers in the world at the moment, having scored 13 goals in his last 13 games across all competitions.

“He has gone through some really bad times and I know what a lot of people have said about him when he was in those low periods,” Kanu told ESPN.

“But we know it is football. When you are not doing well, people talk anyhow and say what they want but when you start doing well, the same people come back.

“For me, I always know he is a good footballer. I always talk with him, encourage him, send him messages when he is doing well and when he is not doing well and telling him to keep his head up.

“The only thing was for him to work hard, Talent with hard work works. If you believe only in the talent, it will disappoint you so you have to marry the two together.

“It is something great that he is back now. Not only for himself but for the country. We need all our players to be in top form. Right now he is. If you mention the top strikers in the world now, Kelechi’s name will be there because he is scoring and that is what you need from strikers.

“What happened to him is a very big lesson, and the way he responded is what makes a great player. He didn’t talk too much, he just worked hard and see where he is now.”

Saturday’s triumph at Wembley Stadium stamped Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi’s names in the plethora of Nigerian players who clinched the oldest football competition in the world alongside Kanu.

Kanu who won the FA Cup thrice – Arsenal (2001-02, 2003-04) and Portsmouth (2007-08), encouraged the Leicester City duo to aim for more success after their latest feat.

“It is wonderful to see them as FA Cup champions. They needed to go for it and they did. Congratulations to them, they did really well,” he continued.

“This will now give them the belief that they can go and do more. When you win one, you want to win another and another one. At least you know that you have won the FA Cup.

“The next thing now is to look for more trophies and it gives them more confidence and more encouragement and the belief that they can do anything and win against anybody.”

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