City on Iheanacho:
City supporters are likely to recognise Kelechi from the Club’s summer tour of the USA where the youngster caught the eye with a string of fine performances.
He scored in the first tour match against Sporting KC which preceded the competition to cap an excellent performance, sidefooting a Jesus Navas cut-back into the bottom corner of the net with two minutes left on the clock.
Inheanacho got in on the scoring act again a few days later in the opening game of the Guinness International Champions Cup with an improvised outside-of-the-foot finish against Milan in the 5-1 win at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.
At the time, Manuel Pellegrini said: “Kelechi is just 17 years old and he’s a very important player for us in the future.
“He demonstrated today what he can do in the future. It depends on the way he takes this profession, but I think he’s a good talent.”
Kelechi first rose to prominence on the world junior stage when he scored six goals and made seven assists in the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup which helped to fire Nigeria’s Super Eaglets to success in Abu Dhabi.
This incredible contribution saw him named the U17 World Cup’s best player, earning him the coveted Golden Ball trophy.
His tally in the competition included a four goal haul against Mexico in their opening group game and, by the end of the tournament; he had a direct hand exactly half of Nigeria’s 26 goals.
Previous Golden Ball winners at the FIFA U17 World Cup include legendary US international Landon Donovan and 2014 World Cup winning Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos.
In January 2014, Kelechi went on to claim the “Most Promising Talent of the Year” award in January 2014 at the CAF annual awards ceremony which recognises the best footballers in Africa.
City’s Yaya Toure won his third consecutive CAF African Player of the Year award at the same event.
Toure said of Iheanacho: “Kelechi is an exciting player. I love the way he plays and I feel that he will have a good career at the club and go on to become one of the players of the future.”
After injuries ruled the Nigerian out of much of the 2014/15 season, he returned to score in the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea and then followed this up with the only goal in the International Premier League Cup final win over FC Porto, landing his first honour with the club in the process.
Kelechi continued his hot scoring streak for the EDS in the final weeks of the season, netting twice against champions Manchester United in the final league game to take his tally to six in seven games.