Leicester City reported this week that Wilfred Ndidi will have to spend a few weeks in the sidelines due to a muscle strain. The hard-nosed defensive midfielder has not been lucky with injuries in the last twelve months which have eroded the quality of his all round play in recent times.
For Nigeria, my ultimate worry for Ndidi is that he might struggle to regain his starting 11 slot in the Super Eagles in the next 12 months even when he fully returns from injury.
I keep saying it, unless Peseiro changes his style or NFF ditches Peseiro himself, it’s hard to see where a player of Ndidi’s mould fit in the current playing philosophy of the Super Eagles.
Peseiro plays with a light midfield with only two box-to-box fluid centre midfielders who are intelligent with the ball with dynamic movements, creative deliveries and a healthy balance of attacking and defensive acumen.
Ndidi – in my humble opinion – even when his form is boiling hotter than the waters of Kalamazoo doesn’t seem fit the bill.
I will never play him as a centre back as we have a plethora of quality natural options in that department. Also, the timing of his tackles and the ferocious at which he lunges into it makes him an accident waiting to happen at the back.
If either Eguavoen or Gernot Rohr were still in charge, then their 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 options would still accommodate Ndidi’s pièce de résistance.
But Peseiro’s flat 4-4-2 only suits fluid midfielders like Aribo, Iwobi, Onyeka, Etebo, Onyedika, Amoo, Bonke, Kingsley Michael or even Kelechi Nwakali.
Having said all that, Peseiro might yet find a way to accommodate Ndidi and unluck his hidden hitherto expressed qualities. But the Leicester City defensive linchpin will have to banish his injury demons so as to restore his place for club and country.
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