The Nigeria striker scored twice, one awarded by VAR, to put Leicester into the FA Cup fourth round
Kelechi Iheanacho hopes his performance against Fleetwood showed fans that he can still help “achieve great things” with Leicester City.
The £25million summer signing scored twice in the FA Cup third-round replay, the second awarded by the video assistant referee, as he bids to kick-start his career at the club.
There had been speculation that Leicester were looking to cut their losses on the former Manchester City striker during this transfer window, following a disappointing start to life at the King Power Stadium.
However, City boss Claude Puel has since made it clear that the 21-year-old is still part of his plans for the future and the Nigeria international repaid that faith with his brace in Tuesday’s win.
“The first part of the season is gone and it is the second part now,” said Iheanacho. “I am happy to get the two goals and now hope to progress in the future.
“It gives me more confidence to play well, get back in the team and help them achieve great things in the future.
“As a footballer, you need to keep working hard through the bad times and the good times. You don’t need to get frustrated. Stick together and work hard every day. If the chance comes, you take it.”
Iheanacho has made just two Premier League starts this season, and not featured in any of the last 11 top-flight games, as he struggled to break into the side with the excellent form of Jamie Vardy.
Iheanacho’s only other goal for Leicester came in the Carabao Cup victory over Leeds back in October.
He puts his slow start to his City career down to a troublesome toe injury, sustained on his debut in the final pre-season game against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“That slowed things down a little bit,” added Iheanacho. “I am happy I am getting to come back. I am feeling better, stronger and working hard in training every day to progress. I hope I will have a very successful and injury-free second part of the season.
“I am fit now and confident. We have so many more games to come. Keep working hard, and keep playing and help the team to achieve. Fans have seen a bit of me, I hope to continue like that in the future and in the games to come.”
Puel was also pleased with Iheanacho’s performance.
“I was happy about his game because he created good situations and was always available,” said Puel.
“He played simple and he got his reward just before half-time. It was important for him and for the squad. I’m happy for him.”
VAR a ‘good thing’
Iheanacho made history on Tuesday night when he became the scorer of the first goal in English football to be awarded via the video assistant referee (VAR).
The goal, Iheanacho’s second of the night, was originally ruled out for offside only to be overturned when referee Jon Moss consulted with the VAR.
As you might expect, Iheanacho is a fan.
“It is a good thing that they have brought it in for football,” said Iheanacho. “You have to wait for one minute maybe two to verify what’s going on.
“I didn’t know if I was onside or offside but Riyad told me that I was onside. We just waited for the review. It is a good thing.
“You cannot get to celebrate with the fans, that is the only thing, but if you are attacking and it counts it is an advantage anyway.”
By James Sharpe. This article first appeared in the Leicester Mercury.