Manchester City’s young forward Kelechi Iheanacho wants to give departing manager Manuel Pellegrini the best send off possible in the last game of the season away to Swansea on Sunday. City need to hold off the challenge of neighbours Manchester United to qualify for a place in the Champions League.
Iheanacho spoke today on the Barclays Premier League World programme and was full of gratitude for Pellegrini and his team-mates in this his breakthrough season. “Everyone contributed to help me. Pellegrini gave me courage. The players were helpful and encouraged me in training”, said the striker, who was introduced on the programme as “the new kid on the block”.
The Nigeria international was keen to end the season on a high by taking the last Champions League spot. He said City “are a big team, with quality players. They have everything to be in the Champions League and deserve to be there. The manager has been great to me and to the team. I appreciate him bringing me in.”
The programme talked about Iheanacho’s humble origins in Owerri, Imo State and how he honed his skills in a local academy there before being snapped up by the Manchester City academy in 2014, where he spent a year before breaking into the first team.
According to the programme, no matter the outcome of City’s challenge for a Champions League place on Sunday, the future looks bright for Iheanacho, who is building a reputation as one of the deadliest finishers in Europe, with one of the best goals per minute ratios in the continent’s top flights. He has scored 13 goals this season.
Iheanacho appeared to be a very levelheaded young man and gave this advice to any youngster trying to break into the game: “Keep your head down, keep working and keep listening. Take any chance you get”.
No one would argue that Iheanacho has not made the most of the chance given him this season by Pellegrini.