Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi is facing a rare dose of flak from analysts, following his inability to save his team from losing to Chelsea in the English FA Cup quarter-finals, while The Foxes’ gaffer, Brendan Rodgers says he did not give Kelechi Iheanacho a second on the pitch because the Nigerian lad is not better than Jamie Vardy, megasportsarena.com gathered.
Iheanacho has a fair run of goals in Cup matches, but Rodgers opted to keep him on the bench for all 90 minutes of Sunday’s game at King Power Stadium, where Ndidi was on for the duration but is now being held accountable for the lone goal of the match scored by The Blues’ Nigerian-born midfielder, Ross Barley.
It was Ndidi’s eighth appearance in the FA Cup since moving to England in January 2017, but the former Racing Genk of Belgium lad has received the swipe from former Manchester United of England defender, Rio Ferdinand, who opined that the Super Eagles’ star was at fault for the 1-0 loss Leicester suffered against Chelsea.
He pointed out that Ndidi did not pick Barkley out in the build-up to the goal, thereby allowing the Nigerian-born England international to make a run inside the box before volleying home in the 63rd minute and, although Ferdinand admitted the highly-rated midfielder has been in top form this season, he stressed that the Eagles’ star should have prevented the goal.
Ferdinand told BT Sport: “The gap between the centre-backs starts to develop. When that happens, when that big gap comes, the big job is for Ndidi, who has had great reviews for how he’s played over the years, and rightly so.
“Once you see the gap between the centre-backs when the ball’s wide, his job is to drop in, drop in here and be that guard in there. If you keep your eye on Ndidi here, and look how many times he looks over his shoulder to see where Barkley is. One look, two looks – when he looks there – he has to drop in there and cover the run from Barkley.
“He knows he can get in behind Ndidi because he’s not looking. But once this happens at this level, it’s too quick, the quality is too good, it’s a great cross and the timing eliminates defenders out of it. Barkley sees the space, darts into it, great ball, great finish. Bad defending from Ndidi.”
On the other hand Iheanacho, who has played 20 games in all competitions this term, of which 12 were starts, was an unused substitute despite the FA Cup being his favourite competition in England, since his days with Manchester City, with 10 goals spread across14 matches.
However, the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup gold medalist and most valuable player was not accorded any moment of action on Sunday, as Rodgers kept faith with Vardy, who had not been involved in The Foxes’ last three games in the competition, and the gaffer said afterwards: “Jamie still looked fresh. We thought he could still grab a goal. It was as simple as that.”