Kelechi Iheanacho is a key man in Leicester The club aims for the historic FA Cup final
Kelechi Iheanacho is likely to look forward to Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton even more than his Leicester City team-mates.
Typically, the FA Cup offers some sort of distraction for the uncomfortable side who tend to welcome a break from the league’s misfortune, but this isn’t just any fox game.
Ask any local fan and you will probably hear the same thing: the fans are happy with the chance to reach the first final in the oldest sports cup competition of a couple of generations.
Having not played in the last four games since 1982, Iheanacho’s heroes in the final stage against Manchester United Brendan Rodgers got even more excited in this round after suffering a defeat at the hands of Chelsea last year.
The Nigerian pelota player netted twice and created another for the Foxes ’3-1 well-deserved victory over a poor Red Devils team, including the 2016 Premier League champions in the final four.
The last appearance in the final was in 1969, and the 52-year gap is huge.
They are the only PL champions to ever win the FA Cup, and Iheanacho’s form means Leicester have won two victories over glory. If the success of the 2016 league never achieves anything, the fans will win the competition and the club’s return to Wembley this year should spark a hobby.
While it leaves no room for reassurance, the Foxes have surely been pleased with the draw for the finals, as they have been linked with the Southampton side, who have not been the same since the end of the year. Compared to Manchester or Chelsea, it was the last four encounters Leicester wanted to achieve after winning United. . . and the same could be said about the Saints.
🇳🇬Nigerians in Europe last weekend🇳🇬
Adeyemi ⚽⚽ @EddyDove He called it the ‘absolute goal party of Nigeria’
– Goal Africa (@GoalAfrica) April 16, 2021
“[Southampton] they are a strong side; they have quality individual players and they also play on the team, ”Iheanacho said LCFC TV in Sunday’s match pile. “We have to do more than them, we have to fight in the first half and hurt them, so we don’t have to go back.
“We are always hungry and eager to win trophies, of course, other teams are also preparing. We have to sacrifice so many things and give our best shot.
“That’s what we have to do. In training and in the game, we have to do what we can, do the extra work and give more than we do, I think we’re preparing for that.”
Due to the dramatic drop in Jamie Vardy since the beginning of the year, it is unlikely that the counter-argument will be presented if anyone names West Africa as the key to the game.
It was the former Man City player who achieved great success against West Ham United when the Englishman played unsuccessfully at the London stadium when Rodgers ’men met late but lost 3-2 to jeopardize next year’s Champions League participation.
The truth is that this has been the case a few months ago with Leicester’s top striker in his third attack with his usual shadow, scoring only once and helping three in 16 games in 2021. Vardy, who submitted 17 appearances in all competitions during this period, was included in 17 goals. It’s been a huge drop since January.
Even though the CL ranking is still in the hands of the club, this weekend is not to worry about its place among the 2021-22 European elite. Instead, the East Midlands club should focus on returning to the Football House, trying to take part in the first half of the 39-year-old FA Cup and the first final of the half-century.
The three goals scored by Iheanacho this season led to Leicester’s top scorer and Chelsea’s Didier Drogba scoring FA Cup goals becoming the key player in the quarter-finals as he did not want to continue replacing the 12 strikes in the Blues ’legend.
“Personally, I’m proud, but I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to lose focus on the game,” the Nigerian said. “After the season, I’m going to start thinking about that. We have big weeks in the FA Cup and Premier League. We need that concentration and determination to win games and get where we want to be.
“I’m in a good moment. I have to keep helping my team. I have to work hard every day, if the form comes up and I have to move on.”
Drogba, who generally turned Wembley into his playground, was a man from West London in the heyday, a responsibility that frightened him in the final stages of the competition. Using the Ivory Coast icon is no mean feat, but the work is a long way off.
Despite making history for Leicester fans and ending the pain of almost four decades, Iheanacho now has to take the Rodgers side to make his first decision in the FA Cup in his 50s. Given his current form, you wouldn’t bet against him.