Brendan Rodgers believes he is willing to help Kelechi Iheanacho to end his six-mont goal drought at Leicester City just like he expressed satisfaction with the mentality of Wilfred Ndidi but insisted that the Nigerian must tidy up on his feet.
The former Celtic of Scotland gaffer told Leicestershirelive yesterday that he would assist Iheanaocho to start enjoying football again.
The coach is however, hoping that if he can ease the pressure on the 22-year-old Super Eagles star and get him doing the basics well, goals will flow shortly after. “I think it’s about improving every player, I’ve always seen that as my job,” said Rodgers.
“It’s been hard for Kelechi because he’s come in and he’s been a secondary striker at Manchester City. All of a sudden he makes a move for big money and I think everyone can see the potential.
“But he’s come in to one of the top strikers in the league (Jamie Vardy) and I think it’s very hard to displace that. But it’s just a case of adapting to these new players.
“Actually my job is not to put them in a trap of pressure, and take that away from them. Enjoy your football, but ultimately your first job is to press and work hard. From that what can you add into your game?”
Rodgers, however, insists that Iheanacho can only play as the leading man, a role Vardy has nailed down, making it more difficult to find a solution to the Nigerian’s woes.
“I think he’s a great talent but he’s a number nine. He’s not one who can play on the sides or come in. Some strikers I’ve worked with you can maybe shuffle them about and slide them around to make it work – but he’s a number nine and that’s it. And we already have a good number nine. So he’s got a fight to get ahead. But there’s maybe another system to make it work, like a diamond,” Rodgers said.
The former Liverpool manager admitted that Ndidi’s ability to read game and win tackles is crucial for Leicester City.
Rodgers is pleased, although he is still hoping to make Ndidi a better player.
“My teams, I like them to defend forward,” said Rodgers. “The set-up was good, so we had a good base, and Ndidi nips in, anticipates and gets a touch on it.
“He’s good boy but he needs to tidy up his feet. He’s got good agility, he gets around the pitch, he breaks the game up, he does all the dirty work, but then when he has the ball, it’s just improving his ability to make the first pass.
“But I like him, he’s a good boy. He’s got a good mentality and he does a lot of the dirty work that people perhaps don’t see.”