Rodgers talks up Iheanacho importance to Leicester’s season

Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers has talked up the importance of Leicester forward Kelechi Iheanacho ahead of Tuesday's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Aston Villa.

The Nigerian continued his strong scoring record this season with a seventh strike of the campaign in the 1-0 FA Cup win over Brentford on Saturday.

It booked Leicester’s spot in the fifth round and was just Iheanacho’s 12th outing this term, but he could be set for another this week.

Former England striker Jamie Vardy is making “good progress” after sustaining a glute injury on Wednesday against West Ham, but, if he fails to recover quickly, the Foxes boss knows the former Manchester City striker is a ready-made replacement.

Rodgers said of Iheanacho: “He has worked very hard in training and knows he has the confidence of the coaching staff and everyone at the club. I also think it is natural and takes time. He made a big move, but hadn’t actually played a lot of football so for a young player, he needed games and confidence. It all stems from training.

“He has trained ever so hard and works so hard and now he has become really efficient where he is creating and scoring goals. It is brilliant for him because it was a difficult period when he came, but he is very much an important player for us.”

After moving to King Power Stadium in the summer of 2017 for a reported fee of £25million, Iheanacho netted eight times in all competitions during his debut campaign.

The 23-year-old found life much harder last season and finished the term with only two goals from 35 appearances.

He endured a barren run of form which only ended at Luton in September when he found the net for the first time in 12 months and subsequently halted a run of 28 matches without a goal.

Now Iheanacho is full of confidence and will be more than ready to step up again on Tuesday if Vardy misses out.