21 February 2020
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed yesterday that midfield anchorman Wilfred Ndidi will miss their tasty clash at home against Manchester City tomorrow evening.
Ndidi has missed Leicester’s last two Premier League matches against Chelsea and Wolves, which ended in draws, following knee surgery. Rodgers said: “Wilf won’t be available for the weekend. He’s still in a process to try and get fit so we’ll see how he is next week. I’m not sure.
“He’s doing work inside, but you then have to progress that to outside and then when he can join the team. It’s another intensity to join the team and then to play.
“We just want to make sure he’s right because he’s such an important player for us. It’s about the long term too. There’s no timeline on it. We’ll see how he progresses.”
Ndidi’s importance to Leicester, who are third in the league, is demonstrated clearly by the numbers. They have played 21 league games with him in his familiar position at the base of midfield. They won 14, drew three, and lost four. This is a winning percentage of 66.7%. Five league games have been played without the Nigerian international, with Leicester only winning one, drawing two and losing two – a win rate of 20%.
Speaking on SkySports this morning, retired defender Danny Mills said that everyone should be aware of Ndidi’s importance in terms of his defensive role. But Leicester also loses in attack when he is unavailable because his defensive solidity frees the other midfielders, James Madison and Youri Tielemans, allowing them to flourish in more creative roles, making the team a more attacking threat.
Rodgers described Ndidi last month as “a colossal player” adding: “He gives a lot of the talent in the team that chance to express themselves because of the ground he covers. He’s like having two players.”
“He’s so valuable to us. That type of player, especially at this time of the season, is vital for you. He’s improved. If you look at how he plays, it’s not just his aggression and his defensive side – he’s always available for the ball.
“He’s constantly on it and gets us playing forward and defending forward. There are not too many better than him who do that job. He’s a phenomenal player.”
Sadly for Rodgers and Leicester, they must figure out how to cope with Manchester City without the key cog in their 4-1-4-1 formation. The stats don’t look good for Leicester.