Kelechi Iheanacho has proved to be the effective back-up for injured Jarmy Vardy in Leicester City with his early strike Saturday to give Brendan Rodgers a ticket to the next round of the FA Cup.
His early strike in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brentford was his seventh in 12 matches – a highly efficient return given he has started only seven of these – and was enough to secure a place in the fifth round.
If Vardy cannot recover from a glute injury in time to face Aston Villa in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg, Rodgers knows he can rely on Iheanacho to be an effective replacement.
It was a similar story during his Manchester City career, too, when Iheanacho was required to deputise for, among others, Sergio Aguero: regular substitute appearances, only 20 starts, but still 21 goals.
Iheanacho struggled after joining Leicester for £25million from Manchester City in 2017, scoring only 10 times in his first two seasons.
This season, though, he seems to have worked out how to make the most of his role. No player is pleased to be on the bench rather than in the team, yet whenever Iheanacho has been called on he has responded.
Brought on against Everton in December with the team trailing at home, Iheanacho created the equaliser for Vardy and scored the winner himself in stoppage time.