Saturday 16 December 2017

Kelechi Iheanacho: City have told me I can't go to Olympics as I must train with Guardiola

Kelechi Iheanacho speaking at a fans event at City's Academy CREDIT: REUTERS
Kelechi Iheanacho speaking at a fans event at City's Academy CREDIT: REUTERS

Chris Bascombe

Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho says he was given no choice but to accept his club’s decision to block him from playing in the Olympics.

Nigeria selected the teenager in their provisional squad to travel to Brazil, but he has been informed by City they want him to stay in England and work with new coach Pep Guardiola.

Speaking at a fans event at City’s Academy – part of the grand unveiling of Guardiola on Sunday – the 19-year-old seemed to harbour hopes of a change of heart from his club. However, their stance remains unchanged.

“If your country wants you to play for them you surely have to go, but it’s not up to me to decide,” said Iheanacho.

“If they allow me to go, I will go, but they haven’t concluded that yet so I don’t know. It’s not left for me to decide if I am going to the Olympics or not.”

City believe the striker’s career will benefit more from training under the new coach during pre-season. They have high hopes of the youngster playing a significant role under the new coach, benefiting his career longer-term more than an Olympics role.

Iheanacho is hoping the Spanish manager will take his game to another level.

“I haven’t met him and haven’t spoken to him yet,” said the teenager.

“Everyone knows Pep and what he can do. I think he is a great manager and I think he will bring many things to this team.

“We have great players and we have made some great new signings so I just need to work hard and I will get my chance to play.

“I am happy with what I did last season and now I have to work really hard this season to get something for the team and work for the team as well.”

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