Former Nigeria international Garba Lawal has told Kelechi Iheanacho ‘talent alone is not enough’ following the striker’s omission from the Super Eagles team for the AFCON.
According to Garba, Iheanacho’s expulsion was expected as the striker has not shown the commitment and desire to succeed at the top.
He praised Iheanacho for incredible talent but counseled that he will fall short of the higher heights expected of him if he does not show the fight and determination needed to make it in football.
He encouraged him to pick up the pieces from the latest disappointment and compete for regular spot at Leicester.
“I think he didn’t expect Rohr to drop him from the team to AFCON; but many of us saw it coming. We knew it was going to happen unless something different happened. At this moment, he has to pick up the pieces and return to the normal Iheanacho that people know.
“With English man, Jamie Vardy and Japanese, Shinji Okazaki I knew it was going to be difficult for Iheanacho to pick a shirt from either of these two players. But his nemesis had been this lack of fighting spirit, which should not be lacking in an attacker. And for him to reclaim his place in the Eagles he has to go back to his club and fight for his shirt,” he said.
Lawal, who is currently the coach of Real Stars of Kaduna, added, “When Manuel Pellegrini was Manchester City’s coach, Iheanacho was playing more, and scoring goals. But as soon as Pep Guardiola took over, things changed. But because every coach has his own philosophy, Iheanacho was offloaded to Leicester City where I thought he should be playing regularly but that didn’t happen.
“At Leicester, to me, he did not fight enough to deserve a place in his club, likewise in the Eagles. Now, he has to return to the club and work harder in order to find more playing time. He must realize that as a black man he needs to push and take advantage of any opportunity that comes his way,” Lawal stated.