Sterling, Silva, Pellegrini hail ‘Uncle’ Iheanacho


Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho (right) celebrates scoring the winning goal of the English Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City…on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP.

MANCHESTER City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has joined his top stars in highlighting the promise in Nigeria’s youth star, Kelechi Iheanacho, who Sterling referred to on Saturday as ‘Uncle’ Kelechi.

Iheanacho scored his first goal for the club to earn Manchester City a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. The former Nigerian youth international made history by becoming the third youngest player to score a Barclays Premier League goal for Manchester City after Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge. “Uncle Kelechi,” Sterling who was left out of the squad due to injury wrote on twitter.

Spanish playmaker, David Silva, also added: “First of many @69kelechi,” Silva wrote. Iheanacho who has made two substitute appearances for the Citizens poked home his side’s winner in stoppage time to maintain City’s impeccable record to the start of the EPL.

He came on for Wilfried Bony with a couple of minutes remaining on Saturday and just 54 seconds later was alert enough to tap home a close-range rebound after Alex McCarthy spilled Samir Nasri’s shot.

Some Manchester City followers say the ‘Uncle’ sobriquet from Sterling could stem from Iheanacho’s way of addressing the senior players in the City team, especially Yaya Toure, whom he refers to as Uncle Yaya.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini has revealed that Iheanacho is one of the reasons he didn’t sign another striker when Edin Dzeko joined AS Roma in the summer.

And the player understands it will be a tough task to displace City’s big stars in subsequent games despite his feat on Saturday. “It’s not easy. We have great players here but I have to keep working hard. “We are much stronger this season with quality players.

We are going to go all the way.” Pellegrini reckons the Nigerian teenager will be an important member of his squad this term. “Kelechi scored the goal and he had another chance,” the Chilean said after the match. “Kelechi is a very young player – he’s just 18 years old.

He worked with the rest of the team all week. In front of him are Kun and Bony who are very good players, but he is an important striker who still has a lot to improve.”

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