Maresca Can't Afford To Make The Same Iheanacho Mistake As Rodgers

Iheanacho started on the bench for Leicester City in their 2-1 victory over Coventry City
13:01, 07 Aug 2023

Leicester City got off to a strong start in the Championship on Sunday as they defeated Midlands rivals Coventry City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes were largely outplayed by last season’s play-off finalists and the reason they won the game was because they have a Premier League midfielder in their side in Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who scored the first brace of his career to complete the turnaround from 1-0 down.

However, it wasn’t just the classy midfielder that helped Leicester take control of the match in the final 20 minutes, he was helped by substitutes Dennis Praet and Kelechi Iheanacho.

When Leicester’s first team sheet of the season was announced many onlookers were flabbergasted at Iheanacho being named on the bench with ageing legend Jamie Vardy given the nod to start by Enzo Maresca.


Iheanacho has strangely found himself overlooked on many occasions in Leicestershire in recent years. Fans were on former boss Brendan Rodgers’ back for not starting the Nigerian striker as much as he arguably should have, particularly because when he is on the pitch positive things happen. There was an argument to be made that perhaps Leicester might have avoided relegation last year had the forward been given more than his 11 starts in the top flight.

And this impact was evident against Coventry as he immediately caused Mark Robins’ side headaches when he came on in the 75th minute to replace Vardy. The 36-year-old had an uninspiring run out against the Sky Blues and Leicester’s attacking play was significantly improved when Iheanacho came on.


The 26-year-old is an excellent centre-forward for holding the ball up and linking play with the players around him - he looks like he will thrive in this new-look Leicester side. He helped his side push higher up the pitch, as did debutant Stephy Mavididi, who became a growing threat in the second half. It was three seasons ago when Iheanacho scored 12 goals in the Premier League and helped Leicester win the FA Cup. And yet his opportunities became more sporadic in the last two campaigns. 

While there has been reported interest in other relegated forwards in the second tier such as Southampton's opening night match-winner Che Adams, it is surprising that there have been no reports of any clubs taking a look at the Leicester star. Of course this is great news for the fans because if they can keep him in the Championship he will play a vital role for them this year, and he would have a great chance at winning the Golden Boot.

Manager Maresca is still likely getting familiar with his new squad and as the next few weeks progress we could see Iheanacho get more chances to start matches and if we’re going off his cameo against Coventry, you feel that they will come sooner rather than later.

Like Dewsbury-Hall and James Ward-Prowse, Iheanacho should not be playing at this level and there is a chance he could still depart LE2 before the transfer window shuts. But if the Foxes manage to keep hold of him they will have one of the best players in the division, and that will only boost their title-winning credentials. It's time he usurped Vardy as Leicester's main man.

Leicester are 3/1 to win the Championship with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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