Wilfred Ndidi admits he never expected to leave Leicester City in the summer, despite reports he was on the radar at Celtic and Premier League side Nottingham Forest.
With the hard-hitting Nigeria international seemingly losing the defensive instincts that once made him one of English football’s most effective ball-winners, one of the biggest challenges for new Leicester City coach Enzo Maresca has been finding a solution to a growing problem.
And it appears he did just that. Pep Guardiola’s former assistant, who moved Wilfred Ndidi from ‘number six’ to the box-to-box role of ‘number eight’, has been rewarded for his tactical reshuffling with some significantly improved performances in a new role.
Ndidi’s tally of three goals in eight games under Maresca is the most he has scored since the start of the 2020/21 season.
Celtic and Nottingham Forest have been linked with Wilfred Ndidi
The £15million new signing from Genk, meanwhile, is happy to expand his footballing horizons under Maresca, although he may miss out on a return to the Premier League with Nottingham Forest or the Champions League with Celtic.
“I was open to learning more about Maresca’s philosophy and style. It went well. I’m glad I’m here,” says Ndidi when you smile Podcast on BBC Radio Leicester.
“There was no time I wanted to leave. Sometimes I would watch the news and just laugh because it wasn’t true.”
Ndidi may be referring to reports from the Daily Mail, suggesting a reunion with Brendan Rodgers north of the border at Celtic was on the cards. These rumors were quickly quashed by publications in Scotland, with Ndidi also downplaying Fabrizio Romanos claims he was keen to move to Nottingham Forest on deadline day.
Leicester are fighting for the championship table
“To be honest, no (I didn’t think I would go),” the 2021 FA Cup winner added. “Because when he (Maresca) came he tried to explain his philosophy and also the simplicity of the game and I just feel like I can actually learn something from that.”
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