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Wilfred Ndidi reveals how he became a midfielder

Wilfred Ndidi reveals how he became a midfielder

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has credited former Genk manager Peter Maes for switching his playing position from centre-back to midfield.

Last season, the Nigeria international was drafted into the heart of the Foxes’ defence on several occasions and he delivered some impressive performances.

His initial knowledge as a centre-back has also helped him shine in the Premier League as one of the best defensive midfielders in the division.

The 24-year-old, who moved to King Power Stadium in January 2017, disclosed that his role was changed at Genk after he played for Nigeria’s youth teams and his former side Nath Boys as a defender.

“I started my career as a central defender during my days in Nath Boys. Even in the U-17, U-20, national team…I was a defender,” Ndidi told the Guardian Life.

“Until I got to Genk. I was actually signed as a central defender by Genk until a new coach, Peter Maes came in and asked me if I ever played as a no. 6 in the midfield. I said, ‘No. I have never played there’ and he replied, ‘I’ll like to try you there’.”

Ndidi further revealed his admiration for former Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel before they linked up together in the Super Eagles set-up.

“Growing up, I played as a central defender. But I have always admired Mikel Obi. You know, growing up, he was big. I always looked up to him,” he continued.

“I even wore the number 12 shirt, just like his jersey number at Chelsea. My teammates started keeping the number 12 shirt for me. That’s how much I admired him and his style of play.”

The former Genk midfielder won the maiden silverware in his career last season when Leicester City clinched the FA Cup title.

Although he was recognised as the Premier League’s top tackler for three consecutive seasons, the 24-year-old is aiming for more titles with Brendan Rodgers’ side and in his national team.

“For me, I want to work harder and win more trophies with my club and national team,” Ndidi added.

“The personal recognitions come when the team is doing well.

“So, for me, I just want to win with the team and the individual accolades will come. I am a team player, and I just want to win.”

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