Liverpool and Nigeria star Taiwo Awoniyi is the latest high profile name to comment on the travails of Kelechi Iheanacho. The Leicester City star was dropped from Super Eagles 23 man squad for the Total African Cup of Nations holding in Egypt from June 21st- July 19th.
Iheanacho was touted to be the next big thing to come out of Nigerian football following his impressive performances for the Golden Eaglets at the 2013 U-17 world cup in United Arab Emirates. The 22-year-old won the golden ball and the silver boot in the competition, a feat that earned him a move to Manchester City.
However, it was where his career began to take a downward turn as he failed to impress before he was shipped off to Leicester City. He hasn’t fared any better since he moved to the King Power and his exclusion from the nations cup squad represents a new low in his career.
Speaking with Allnigeriasoccer, Iheanacho’s teammate at the U-17 world cup in 2013, Taiwo Awoniyi, believes the Nigerian international hasn’t been able to fulfil his potential because he is now being played out of position by his managers.’For me, Iheanacho was pushed to play as a center forward because of his goal-rate and how confident he is in scoring goals,” said Awoniyi.
”I have played with him a lot of times, when I play with him he’s best played as a number ten, behind the striker. This is where he played when we played together, all of a sudden he became a center forward and it has to do with what they discovered in him in Manchester City and Leicester City. ”When he was at Manchester City before he was moved to a number nine, he played the same position and he did great things for the team.”
Awoniyi added : ”When the whites discover something special in you in terms of goalscoring, they will find a way to push you. ”The coach is the best person to know where he fits in, but I cannot give an advice where he should play. ”When he played as a number ten with me in the national team, he did a great job and also a number nine, so it depends on what the coach thinks.”