The King Power Stadium has welcomed a brand new hero in ‘Seniorman Kels’, whose breathtaking burst of goals has put even the legendary Jamie Vardy in the shade, writes IKENWA NNABUOGOR
Two years ago, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was mulling offloading Kelechi Iheanacho as his sharpness in front of goal took a walk and the former Manchester City striker was nowhere near his best.
His troubles started brewing when Pep Gaurdiola took over from Chilean Manuel Pellegrino at Manchester City and the former Golden Eaglets striker struggled to deliver the goals, which continued at his new King Power Stadium base.
Vardy was clearly in charge at the King Power, ‘Seniorman Kels’ new base, and it seemed he would bring something extraordinary to force the Leicester City faithful to start singing his tunes.
Bed of flowers were pitifully not laid on the turf for the special talent who burst the U17 World Cup goat charts and his struggles even continued into his second season.
Vardy remained unstoppable, Spaniard Ayoze Perez arrived later and complemented Vardy admirably in the front line, while midfielders, James Madison and Belgian star Youri Tielemans almost contributed their fair shares of goal quota, leaving Iheanacho in the sahadows.
‘Seniorman Kels’ was only praying and hoping to get back on his feet as even his country’s team turned their back on him to compound his misery in England.
The higher-ups were getting pressured to offload their prized £25 million acquisition after all Vardy-inspired squad was firing the 1969 FA Cup finalists to the Premier League frontline.
A shot with Leicester U-23s was one of the lows of Iheanacho, who was only brought to the highest level of English football via the Special Talent Scheme despite falling short of the 75 percent international games requirement.
A goal in the lone U23 league appearance renewed hopes he could get back on his feet.
Iheanacho’s greatest low during his trying times was not being part of the team to the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, where Nigeria placed third.
Could this “insult” have sparked this resurgence by the striker?
He didn’t light up the Premier League right away, but chose the FA Cup route as his goals continued to make headlines, so much that he grabbed a record as the highest scoring African player in the English top flight with 12 goals and counting.
While he still fires in the goals in the FA Cup, his league goals’ account keeps trickling in admirably, at last count, he has buried 10 goals in 20 league appearances.
The fear of ‘Seniorman Kels’ is the beginning of wisdom for defenders in the English top flight as he’s even more dangerous making the goals.
Defenders can no longer afford to take their eyes off Iheanacho as this will spell doom for them, ask Manchester United, Sheffield United, West Ham, West Bromwich Albion and only last night, Crystal Palace.
While Iheanacho’s incredible goal run is sweeping through the English top flight, Vardy seems to have taken a “sabbatical”, only managing to break his goal duck against West Brom in Iheanacho-inspired 3-0 spanking after an agonizing 11-game goal drought.
Interestingly, Iheanacho leads the chart among the English top flight frontliners, with eight goals in 10 games and he doesn’t appear he is about to slow down any time soon.
Leicester City are on the wrong side of history in the English FA Cup ending up losers four times and a date with Chelsea in the final next month will only add to the record or break the deadly jinx.
Will ‘Seniorman Kels’ change all that and help Leicester City grab their first ever FA Cup title and etch his name in the Leicester City Hall of Fame?
He’s currently the leading scorer in the FA Cup this season with eight goals and smart money will be on him to turn Chelsea back to the Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea back line will definitely be on their toes stopping the brilliant Nigerian amid jibes he has been cut a magical “soap” to wash away his spiritual goals’ drought.
Apart from the massive FA Cup final task looming against the multiple FA Cup kings, will ‘Seniorman Kels’ continue to keep Vardy in the back seat?
Iheanacho has certainly proved he’s still that brilliant kid who shocked the world at the U17 World Cup in the UAE in 2013.
It appears he’s not slowing down at least for now as he is the new man at King Power Stadium.