WILFRED NDIDI CAN BE A REAL STAR AT LEICESTER CITY SAYS FORMER COACH OF YOUNGSTER
Wilfred Ndidi’s former coach at Genk Alex McLeish has insisted the Super Eagles midfielder needs time at Leicester but can eventually prove a proper replacement for N’Golo Kante.
The former Scotland boss signed Ndidi for just £70,000 as Genk manager two years ago.
And after impressing scouts from the English Premier League champions, Ndidi, 20, completed a £15million deal at the Premier League champions on Thursday and is expected to fill the void left by Kante who joined Chelsea in the summer.
Commenting on Ndidi’s Leicester City move, McLeish, who was in charge when Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 in the final of the 2011 English League Cup, says the experience of Claudio Ranieri will help Ndidi settle at Leicester.
“Let’s not say he’s the new Kante, but he has that potential,” McLeish told Press Association Sport.
“He can scuttle from one man to another and training would help him to do a similar role to Kante.
“Putting pressure on him and saying he’s the new Kante immediately would be a big ask. (Claudio) Ranieri is a wise old owl, he has great experience and he will definitely know the way to handle the kid.
“I’m not saying he’s the finished article. The Premier League is brutal and will be a test for him, if things are not going for him how will he handle it mentally? These are things that are yet to be learned.”
McLeish, who also coached Championship club Aston Villa, also offered the reason he signed Ndidi at Genk.
“The Belgian league is not as strong as the Premier League, but they are taking on a kid I signed for 100,000 euros for £15million, so they must think a lot of him,” he said.
“He was the only signing I made at Genk in the season I was there. I worked with the board closely and we agreed we wouldn’t bring in anyone until we sold. But the recruitment scout alerted me to him, I watched some video, saw his speed and agility and said ‘£70,000, it’s a no-brainer, sign him’.
“The market is bloated and let’s face it, who is worth the money? Diego Costa cost £30million and now you’re thinking that’s cheap. Now when you see signings for £11million and £12million your man on the street says he can’t be any good. That’s the level of the Premier League, they are paying top dollar.”
Ndidi could make his Leicester debut in their FA Cup third-round tie at Everton on Saturday.