Wilfred Ndidi: replacing Kante was scary
- I felt intimidated with the expectation of replacing Ngolo Kante at Leicester City – Wilfred Ndidi
- Says his success to fulfill such expectation has been down to him conceding that he’s not at the club to fill any void.
Kante departed Leicester for Chelsea after helping the former to win an unbelievable league title in the 2015-16 season.
The French midfielder played a crucial role in that Leicester’s historic team of 2016, ending the campaign as the English Premier League’s top tackler and top interceptor.
With the £13m signing of Nampalys Mendy failing to replace Kante, Leicester City brought in Wilfred Ndidi from Genk in 2017 for a fee worth around £17m.
And since making the move to England, Ndidi Ndidi has twice emerged as the player with the most tackle won in the English Premier (143 in 2018-19) and (138 in 2017-18).
This current campaign that has been halted due to the Corona Virus pandemic, the Nigerian sits third, just behind behind Manchester United Aaron Wan Bisaka and fellow clubmate Ricardo Pereira.
Whilst the 23-year-old took little time to adapt to the English topflight league, he, however, confessed that the pressure to replace Kante was enormous.
“The pressure I had was that they just won the league. Kante left and they were looking for a replacement. Seeing this whole situation, it was very scary for me. Ndidi said to Out of Home Podcast, as quoted Daily Star.
“I was comfortable at Genk but it was like an opportunity for me to actually develop in my career.
“It was the right time for me to go because Genk wanted me to progress in my career. It was difficult at that time because I had to leave for another country and start afresh.
“Even during training, everyone wanted to see what I can do because the person who just left actually made a mark. So, the pressure was just there.”
Ndidi, who has been tagged the world’s best defensive midfielder, by Sunday Oliseh added, “I encouraged myself to be myself and not trying to fill anybody’s shoes.
“All I wanted to do was make a mark for myself which is so possible; and after playing the first two games, I got comfortable.”
Olatosimi Fadahunsi278 Posts
Olatosimi is a part-time non-professional footballer and a football writer with spotkick. His ideology/mind/eyes endlessly rove multidimensionally.