Every child comes to life with a cuddle and warm embrace by the parents so it has proven for Nigerian prodigy Kelechi Iheanacho who has taken his chances to shine in the premier league and he has taken time to hightlight the big brother role played by Ivorian stars Yaya Toure and Wilfred Bony towards his development and progress since breaking into the Manchester City first team.
Following his impressive showing in Nigeria’s World Under-17 Championship triumph two years ago where he won the competition’s Golden Ball after scoring six goals and assisting seven others, many of Europe’s top clubs were after striker Iheanacho but on his father’s advice, the youngster agreed to join a star studded Manchester City in the summer of 2014.
And although Iheanacho had to wait until he was 18 before he could sign with work-permit delays meaning he couldn’t play in England until February this year, the Nigerian who seems to have quickly made up for lost time says Ivory Coast pair Bony and Toure have taken him under their wings.
“Wilfried is a very good striker who is strong and intelligent – he talks to me all the time and advises me,” he added.
“We sit together in the dressing room and he’s like a big brother to me. Yaya too, I’m happy staying with them.” Iheanacho said as quoted on the Express.
Bony and Sergio Aguero are ahead of him in the striker’s pecking order but Iheanacho is convinced he can be the first academy graduate to breakthrough to City’s first team on a regular basis since the club were taken over by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour in 2008.
“I just have to keep working hard in training every day,” he said. “I think I can go all the way so that’s what I’ll keep doing and hopefully I can do great things for City in the coming years.
“I know I have the quality to prove myself when I am given a chance. It’s difficult with players like Bony and Aguero ahead of you. I’m just starting out but I think I can break in.”
Promoted to the first-team squad in the summer, he scored the winner as a late sub at Selhurst Park last month and continued to impress in cameo appearances to convince Manuel Pellegrini he was ready for a first team start this week. And he fully justified his inclusion with a goal and two assists in City’s 5-1 win.