Iheanacho: The Untold Story of City’s New ‘Goal-Den Boy’
A team boasting of Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfired Bony and Samir Nasri, among others, and Manchester City’s winner was scored by a little-known 18-year-old Nigerian.
Kelechi Iheanacho, taking his chance after injuries to Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, was in the right place at the right time to secure 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Who is Iheanacho?
Iheanacho was signed from Taye Academy in Owerri, Nigeria, after impressing at the 2013 U17 World Cup. Arsenal, Sporting Lisbon and Porto also tracked him.
He penned a pre-contract with Manchester City in December 2013, stating that he would sign for the club following his 18th birthday in October 2014.
What did he do in that space in between?
Iheanacho returned to Nigeria, and was named Most Promising Talent of the Year for 2013.
When did he finally get to start playing and training with City?
He joined his new team-mates on their pre-season tour to the USA ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. Iheanacho scored in the first friendly against Sporting Kansas City and later against AC Milan.
Was this his first appearance in England then?
No. A delay in his work permit meant he could not play in England until February 2015, but he went on to make a series of appearances for City’s youth sides. Impressing as he did so.
He joined City on their pre-season tour to Australia too. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he set Raheem Sterling up for his goal less than three minutes into his debut and then scored himself. Naturally, the headlines went to the £49million signing.
He made his Barclays Premier League debut against Watford after replacing Sterling in the 89th minute before the international break.
Did he have anything to say after scoring the winner against Crystal Palace?
He did, though he was a man of few words. ‘I’m happy,’ Iheanacho said. ‘It means the world to me to score the goal’, Short and sweet.
What about Manuel Pellegrini?
We asked the manager what he told Iheanacho before sending him on. Pellegrini answered: ‘Go and score a goal.’ He added: ‘He is a very important player. Just 18 years old. He started working with the squad last season. He will be a very important player in the future.’ Pellegrini has already shown faith in the starlet’s ability just by putting him in their 18-man squad.
Culled From Sportsmail