Nigeria Super Eagles legend Nwankwo Kanu says his compatriot Kelechi Iheanacho is currently one of the best strikers in the world.
Iheanacho has scored 18 goals for Premier League side Leicester City across all competitions this season, which is proving to be his best campaign in England.
On Saturday, the Nigerian helped Leicester win the FA Cup for the first time ever after defeating Chelsea 1-0 at the Wembley Stadium in London.
Kanu, who played for Arsenal and Portsmouth in the Premier League during his playing days, stated that Iheanacho’s resurgence is a big lesson at Leicester where he initially struggled for game time.
“He has gone through some really bad times and I know what a lot of people have said about him when he was in those low periods,” Kanu told ESPN.
“But we know it is football. When you are not doing well, people talk anyhow and say what they want but when you start doing well, the same people come back.
“For me, I always know he is a good footballer. I always talk with him, encourage him, send him messages when he is doing well and when he is not doing well and telling him to keep his head up.”
The 23-year-old joined Leicester from newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City in 2017 and he was usually on the bench as the Foxes played with just one striker in English star Jamie Vardy.
“The only thing was for him to work hard, Talent with hard work works. If you believe only in the talent, it will disappoint you so you have to marry the two together,” he continued.
“It is something great that he is back now. Not only for himself but for the country. We need all our players to be in top form. Right now he is. If you mention the top strikers in the world now, Kelechi’s name will be there because he is scoring and that is what you need from strikers.
“What happened to him is a very big lesson, and the way he responded is what makes a great player. He didn’t talk too much, he just worked hard and see where he is now.”
Given Iheanacho’s goal-scoring ability, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers moved him into the starting line-up alongside Vardy and they both have forged a terrific partnership.
“It is wonderful to see them as FA Cup champions. They needed to go for it and they did. Congratulations to them, they did really well,” he added.
“This will now give them the belief that they can go and do more. When you win one, you want to win another and another one. At least you know that you have won the FA Cup.
“The next thing now is to look for more trophies and it gives them more confidence and more encouragement and the belief that they can do anything and win against anybody.”
Iheanacho signed a new contract to pledge his loyalty to Leicester and he will be hoping to continue this form for Nigeria as well in the World Cup qualifiers.