Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has praised the professionalism of Kelechi Iheanacho following a scathing assessment of the Nigerian striker by his national team manager Gernot Rohr.
Rodgers said Iheanacho has shown a “wonderful appetite” for learning at City’s Belvoir Drive training ground, contradicting the criticism from Rohr.
Iheanacho was left in Leicester for the recent international break, Rohr saying the 22-year-old “must be more professional” and adding that “it’s not good enough to be funny all the time.”
But Rodgers has seen plenty of commitment from the £25 million signing.
“When I saw him at Manchester City, he was always a young player that could come in and affect the game,” said Rodgers ahead of Leicester’s meeting with Bournemouth. “Then he’s come here with a big price-tag.
“From what I’ve seen in training and when I’ve spoken to him, he has shown a wonderful appetite and enthusiasm to get better.
“We have a culture where we want to improve players and make them better and he’s responded very well to that.”
Iheanacho has not scored a City goal in more than six months, but his opportunities to end the lengthy goal drought have also dried up.
He has not started any of City’s last 15 Premier League games, while he has played just seven minutes since Rodgers took the reins.
“It’s difficult for him because he’s up against one of the best strikers in this league, in Jamie Vardy, so that’s always going to be difficult unless the system changes,” said Rodgers.
“But he’s a great boy to work with and he’ll want to play more I’m sure.
“At this minute, it’s creating the confidence because he’s scoring goals in training and working very hard and adapting to how we want to play.
“And I’m sure when the time comes, if he gets a chance to play consistently, he will take that chance.
Meanwhile, Iheanacho’s City and national teammate Wilfred Ndidi currently tops the list of tacklers in the Premier League.
According to the Premier League official website, the 22-year-old Nigerian has successfully made 109 successful tackles so far this season for Leicester.
The former Genk star is currently tied on the same number of points with Crystal Palace’s right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Ndidi who joined the Foxes two years ago from Belgian side Genk is 19 tackles away from equally the feat he achieved last season for the Foxes.
The Super Eagles star has so far featured in all 31 EPL games this season for Leicester City scoring two goals
He is expected to make his 32nd appearance of the EPL for Leicester City when they host Bournemouth on Saturday at the King Power stadium.