By Johnny Edward:
Manchester City’s Nigerian teenage sensation Kelechi Iheanacho is eager to prove he deserves a chance to feature in the club’s first team in the coming season, while hoping to emulate England star and new teammate Raheem Sterling..
Iheanacho scored a goal and assisted Sterling for the other against Roma on Tuesday as Manchester City won on penalties after regulation time ended 2-2.
He praised Sterling for his performance in the encounter and hopes to learn from the England star, who started playing for the Three Lions as a teenager.
“When you are such an intelligent player like he is, it’s easy for us to play alongside him,” Iheanacho told the City website. “It was an honour. He’s a very good player – intelligent, skilful and strong.
“He’s a little bit older than me. I’m a young player still trying to make it so I hope I can learn some things from him.
“It was a very good pass that I gave him for the goal. I thought it might have been offside actually but in the end it was a good run.
‘My goal was quite similar, and it was a good finish. I would like to play against Real Madrid now. It’s great for me to play at this level – this is the very top.”
Iheanacho is expected to feature against Real Madrid at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The Flying Eagles star also revealed that he has not been promised a place in the Premier League squad by coach Manuel Pellegrini despite being issued a work permit by the British Home Office.
“The manager has promised me nothing,” Iheanacho added. “He’s just told me to keep working hard every day. So as yet I don’t know what my chance is, but I pray that it will come soon.
“Last season, everything was okay. It was just about getting a work permit, but everything is sorted out now. I am able to play for Man City now.
“It was nice to get a goal, I feel good about it. This season I hope to be here. I’ve been training hard with them during pre-season and I hope this is the time for me to break into the first-team.’