Leicester city player, Wilfred Ndidi has downplayed comparisons to N’Golo Kante as he helps to repair the damage caused by the loss of the box-to-box midfielder at Leicester. He says he is not yet a star.
Leicester City are the current Premier League champions, but the £17 million midfielder arrived at a club in turmoil, with manager Claudio Ranieri sacked shortly after he arrived as they languished near the relegation zone.
Craig Shakespeare has steadied the ship while Ndidi has become a key cog in Leicester’s first team, with some commentators suggesting he plays a similar role at the France international, who moved to Chelsea from the King Power in the summer.
“No, I never put myself in Kante’s shoes,” Ndidi said . “I didn’t want to play like him when I arrived. I just came here to play my own game. I just feel like am a different player to him.
“He is a good player, he has proved that he’s great this season. With the support of others, you can do anything you want and you can do it here.”
Kante left Leicester for £32 million in the summer and he has since helped Chelsea to a 10-point lead at the top of the table, while Ndidi’s Leicester still need points to ensure surviva
Ndidi is seven-and-a-half inches taller and five years younger than Kante, but he does hold some similarities in his style of play, as he covers lots of ground for his team. And the pair do have comparable personalities, with the Nigeria international being both modest and softly spoken.
“My parents are very, very happy. Although, my dad never wanted me to play. He wanted me to go to school instead but I didn’t listen,” he continued with a smile. “I was always just playing football.
“When you are in the game, you have great opportunities so I don’t really try to look where I want to be. I just want to play and do my best. If I work hard, it will open doors to get me wherever God wants me to be because I am not yet a star”
Meanwhile, Leicester have won four games in succession since Shakespeare came into the job but Ndidi insists that he wasn’t faced with dressing room politics upon his arrival.
“For Ranieri, I felt bad,” he said. “I don’t really talk about managers though. I am just here to play my football. It was sad that he left, though, because he brought me here but I just need to focus on my game. I am still playing.
“It is just football, everything became good. Everything started to come together. I never experienced any problems in the dressing room with any players.
“We were always happy in the dressing room and looking forward to games. Optimistic. We were focused on trying to win. When we lost, everyone was down, but I didn’t notice anything personally. I didn’t see anything strange.”
He also thanked his compatriot Ahmed Musa for helping him to settle.
“I have this mind to adapt quickly,” he said when asked about moving to Leicester from Belgium, where he played with Genk. “I didn’t find it very difficult. It is easy because everybody speaks English. I have a team-mate Ahmed Musa from Nigeria, which helps also”.
Ndidi is now preparing to face Stoke City in a Premier League match at the King Power Stadium next weekend.