Iheanacho: I won’t let fame get into my head

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Super Eagles striker Kelechi Iheanacho says that despite getting a chance under manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City he is not taking his place in the team for granted.

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Iheanacho joined City from the Taye Academy in Nigeria in January 2014 and broke into the club’s senior side last season with some eye-catching displays. His blistering form this season – which includes a goal and assist in City’s 2-1 derby win at Manchester United – has earned universal plaudits again, but he refuses to get carried away.

“I’m not letting all the praise get to my head because I still have a lot to learn in this game,” Iheanacho, who has scored three goals in seven appearances this season, told BBC Sport.

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“It’s been a very progressive period for me at the club, but playing alongside stars like Sergio [Aguero], Yaya [Toure] and other great players provides a big chance to keep working hard.

“I’m definitely learning, quietly listening and watching others closely every day – I know in doing that I will achieve bigger things in my career.”

The 19-year-old scored 14 times and produced seven assists last season even though 25 of his 36 appearances were as a substitute.

That feat saw him finish as City’s third-highest scorer in all competitions, behind Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne.

Guardiola has  rewarded him with a long-term deal  on much improved terms at the Etihad, but the player admits he has a lot of work to do before he can nail down a regular place in the starting line-up.

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“We have experienced players in the team and as someone who is learning and improving, I am happy to take my chance when the manager calls,” Iheanacho said.

“Our manager has confidence in me and has been encouraging me. All I want to do right now is to keep learning under him and work hard for the club.”

The young striker’s goal-scoring form as a substitute is such that he is now seen as the most dangerous member of the squad on the bench.

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But he is refusing to get swept away by his new star status, saying his goals and assists are down to teamwork.

“I score goals not just because I am playing up front but because I get to play in a fantastic team,” said Iheanacho.

“Our defenders and midfielders supply the passes and support for me to deliver, so it is a collective effort.”

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