Wilfred Ndidi could continue in a centre-back role for Leicester City ahead of more established defenders like Caglar Soyuncu, manager Brendan Rodgers has hinted.
Ndidi partnered Daniel Amartey at the heart of the defence in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday night, with Soyuncu dropped for the first time this season.
Rodgers was impressed with the physicality and speed shown by City’s centre-back duo at Anfield and has suggested it is a partnership that could be retained for the home game with West Ham on Sunday.
Asked if the benefits of having Ndidi at centre-back outweigh the benefits of having him in his usual defensive midfield position, Rodgers was unequivocal in his reply, saying: “100 per cent. It’s an area of the field that’s so important. Any good team I’ve ever had, the centre-halves are absolutely critical.
“For us, unfortunately, the availability of our best centre-halves hasn’t been there this season. If you don’t have that consistency there, you get the inconsistent performances.
“The two centre-half positions are very important, because that gives the stability to the rest of the team.”
If Ndidi continues at centre-back, that could lead to more opportunities for the likes of Boubakary Soumare, who started at Anfield, and maybe even Papy Mendy, who will return to the squad as an African champion after victory with Senegal over Egypt in last weekend’s Afcon final.
If Soumare is to continue, there are a number of improvements he needs to make to his game, Rodgers has said.
“This year for him is about adapting to the pace of the Premier League,” Rodgers said on the Frenchman, signed from Lille for £17m in the summer. “He’s got real good qualities.