Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Kelechi Iheanacho has a long-term future at Leicester City and is confident he can call upon the Nigeria international if Jamie Vardy is ever unavailable.
Rodgers named Iheanacho in his starting line-up for the first time this season during the 3-1 win over Burton, the striker netting the first goal of the match, following up his goal-scoring cameo at Luton in the previous round.
Iheanacho is yet to feature in the Premier League – the 23-year-old has only made the matchday squad for one of the past eight league games – but Rodgers denied that he is surplus to requirements and praised his level of effort in training.
“Yes [he does have a future long term],” the City boss said at his press conference on Friday.
“He’s unfortunate he is playing behind one of the great strikers in Europe. Jamie is at the very top of his game, in his goalscoring and his pressing, so it’s very difficult for [Iheanacho] to get in.
“He’s very much a part of our squad. He trains like an animal every day, he’s so good. So I know if need to use him at the weekend, he’ll be ready.”
Iheanacho will have to be patient with Vardy in such fine form, the striker’s hat-trick at Southampton taking him to the top of the Premier League scoring charts, with nine goals in 10 games.