With regular attackers James Maddison and Harvey Barnes injured, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers had no choice but to task Kelechi Iheanacho with infrequent regular starts and the Nigerian did not disappoint. While the Foxes are pushing for a top four spot in the Premier League, the Nigerian striker has scored as a starter in each of his last three games – his last, a hat-trick, his first since arriving in England
Kelechi Iheanacho has scored three goals in a row for Leicester City and topped it off with a hat trick, his first since arriving in England. He’s never had it better in English football as it was his first goal at King Power Stadium since July 2020. His six Premier League goals this season is one that his record shuns last season. just two off his top eight in 2015/16.
After Iheanachos soared to Leicester City’s biggest win in the campaign against Sheffield United last Sunday, he told Sky Sports: “I’ll take this opportunity to do this Dedicating hat trick to all mothers in the world takes care of us. I wish everyone a happy mother’s day. «
Iheanacho’s message is perhaps more emotional as his own mother died when he was only 16 years old.
Mercy, a teacher, died after a brief illness at the age of 43. Later that year, in 2013, Iheanacho was named Player of the Tournament when Nigeria won the U-17 World Cup and his performances caught the attention of Manchester City.
Since arriving in the Premier League, he has honored his mother’s memory by pointing to the sky when he scored. The 24-year-old seemed close to tears as he scored the goal that sealed his first hat-trick in the league on Sunday.
« The reason I point to heaven is because I think there is a God in heaven and that there is also for my mother. I know she is watching when I meet, » he said. “So I want to show my appreciation for God and my late mother.”
He added, “It’s a really great day for me, my family and my teammates. I’m delighted. I’m thankful for my teammates and the manager who helped me reach this level and for Jamie Vardy he helped me a lot.
« I’ve been waiting for this day, it’s my first hat trick in the Premier League and I’m excited. Hopefully there will be many more in the future. »
« That happens when three strikers play in the same game, » said Iheanacho, adding « It was for us today. »
“It didn’t really happen in the first half, we had a couple of chances and then the goal, but in the second half it opened up for us and we were all over them, we pushed them, we got the ball and We put the ball in the net so it was a very nice Sunday for us. »
“I thank my teammates, the gaffer, everyone at Leicester City, the owners who gave me the opportunity, and my teammates for helping me move on and reach this level. I am really happy and excited. »
With ten goals in all competitions in 2020/21, five of which were scored in the last three games, the former Manchester City striker wants to build on his excellent form for Leicester.
« Hopefully I’ll get more – more goals and more hat tricks, « he explained. “I have to concentrate on the performances now.
“That’s the most important thing, to improve myself in training and to improve the things that I don’t do better. So in all aspects, in all areas, in training, to improve game by game, and hopefully they will go further and hopefully we will get to the top. »
After posting footage of his teammates’ enthusiastic reaction to his hat trick on social media, Iheanacho also pointed out the spirit that reigns in the Leicester City warehouse this semester.
« I think they’re all happy for me « , he said. “Everyone is very emotional today; I saw that they were happy for me. I scored a hat trick today to make them really happy for me. We’re like family there so I’m really happy to have these lovely guys as my teammates.
« I’m really happy here. I wish everyone the best and hope that we can come to the top together. »
Iheanacho was a beneficiary of the bill; Scoring trump cards, as many suggested, could result in the East Midlands side dropping a top four spot, similar to last year.
The Foxes had lost points in four of their seven games before the Nigerian ones Form began, and even the 1-1 draw at Burnley meant the 2016 champions had only three wins in eight games. That period coincided with the Europa League exit, leading to fears that 2020/21 might fade just like last year.
With a resurgent Chelsea, brave West Ham United and inconsistent Liverpool, the everyone on the hunt, scoring max points in the last two games has brought some daylight between Rodgers’ troops and the teams that are threatening to oust them in the last nine games.
Due to a test run of the games in the last section against the elected champions Man City, West Ham, Manchester United, the Blues and Tottenham Hotspur, the current five-point advantage over Thomas Tuchel’s team, eight or ten over the Hammers and Jürgen Klopp’s team gives them a little wiggle room.
Iheanacho’s productivity in a two-man attack added to the healthy head start they have on these sites, and is a marked shift in sentiment around December as a nondescript show at the Crystal Palace convinced many that he couldn’t stand in for Vardy.
Originally expected to replace Sergio Aguero in Manchester, the former teenage prodigy was pigeonholed as the Englishman’s understudy. As a result, he was rarely played consistently with both of them for a constant period of time and was given the chance in a role to thrive in which he was successful as a teenager.
Rodgers loved the 24-year-old, who has made 51 starts (37 goals, 14 assists) in 76 starts in all competitions for City and Leicester since moving to England and praised his influence against the Blades.
« Iheanacho was excellent not only for his goals but also for his overall work rate, » Rodgers told the club’s website after the 5-0 win. « He had a huge responsibility today to fall into space and find the bag that was just on the back of midfield, and I thought he did it very, very well.
» He’s a great guy. He deserved the three goals. He had a chance or two but we’re all happy for him. »
Now Rodgers will be hoping the formidable Nigerian will help the team across the line as they want to play among Europe’s sacred teams for the second time in their history.
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