Ndidi reveals his midfield transformation journey at Leicester

Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has been a key figure in the club’s midfield since his arrival, known for his tenacious defending and exceptional tackling.

However, this season has seen a remarkable transformation in his role on the pitch. In an interview, Ndidi opens up about his evolution from a traditional defensive midfielder (No. 6) to a more versatile and dynamic box-to-box midfielder (No. 8), shedding light on the challenges and rewards of adapting to a new position in Enzo Maresca's tactical setup.

The Foxes earned a return to the English top flight, winning the Championship with 97 points from 46 games. They finished just one point ahead of second-placed Ipswich, who were also promoted to the Premier League.

Wilfred Ndidi
Photo by Icon Sport

Ndidi reflects on midfield evolution and overcoming setbacks to support Super Eagles

Transitioning from his familiar defensive role (No. 6) to a more advanced midfield position (No. 8), Ndidi has demonstrated exceptional adaptability and determination.

Despite facing personal setbacks, including missing out on the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) due to injury, Ndidi remained a vital asset for both his club and country.

Reflecting on his journey, he shared his thoughts on the challenges, triumphs, and his pride in the Super Eagles' performance at the AFCON.

“It was an amazing season because moving from Number 6 into a Number 8 was quite difficult in the first two games, but when I got comfortable, it became natural for me. So far, the season was good. I got injured and missed out on the AFCON. I came back and got my feet back. It was an amazing season. Yeah, to be honest, I was so, so proud of the team. Yeah, we lost in the finals, but it is part of the game.

“Sometimes, when you have too many games within two days, it is kind of difficult when you don’t have a big squad. I think that was the only advantage Ivory Coast had against us in the finals, but the whole competition, we were really amazing. I was so proud of the team. Yeah, we came second, but I am still proud of the team,” Ndidi told Arise News.

How Wilfred Ndidi fared at Leicester in the 2023/24 season

The 27-year-old has played a pivotal role in Maresca's squad, directly contributing to 12 goals—scoring six times with six assists in 35 appearances.

His importance to the team was highlighted when he suffered an injury during Leicester City's 2-0 win over Cardiff City, sidelining him for over two months and causing him to miss the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ndidi finally made his highly-anticipated comeback during Leicester City's 1-0 triumph against Sunderland in the English Championship on Tuesday 5 February 2024.

Where will Ndidi go if he leaves Leicester?

The 27-year-old has emerged as a hot commodity in the transfer market, with several top clubs expressing interest in acquiring his services.

Among those reportedly eyeing the Nigerian midfielder are European giants Barcelona, Juventus, and Galatasaray.

With Ndidi's contract set to expire in June, the prospect of securing his signature on a free transfer has only heightened the competition among potential suitors.

As the transfer window approaches and Ndidi's availability as a free agent becomes imminent, it's expected that more clubs will join the race for his signature.

The potential move to Barcelona, Juventus, or Galatasaray presents an exciting opportunity for the Super Eagles midfielder to showcase his talents at the highest level and compete for top honours in domestic and European competitions.

However, with the door open for other clubs to enter the fray, the coming months are sure to bring about further speculation and intrigue surrounding Ndidi's future destination.

Why the Super Eagles will need Ndidi in top form against South Africa and Benin

The Super Eagles are currently facing a challenging situation in their quest for qualification, having gone winless in their last two games.

Sitting third in their group behind Rwanda and South Africa, Nigeria's upcoming fixtures against South Africa and Benin are crucial.

To turn their fortunes around, the team will rely heavily on the presence and performance of Wilfred Ndidi.

Ndidi's importance to the Super Eagles cannot be overstated. As one of the most experienced and talented players in the squad, his ability to control the midfield, break up opposition play, and transition effectively from defence to attack is pivotal.

His recent form at Leicester City, where he has successfully transitioned from a defensive midfielder (No. 6) to a more dynamic box-to-box role (No. 8), showcases his versatility and growth as a player.

In the heart of midfield, Ndidi's tackling, interceptions, and ball distribution provide the stability and creativity the Super Eagles need to dominate matches.

His physical presence and intelligence on the pitch allow him to disrupt the opposition's flow and regain possession, giving Nigeria the upper hand in critical moments.

Wilfred Ndidi
Photo by Icon Sport

Moreover, his experience in top-flight football equips him with the composure and leadership necessary in high-pressure situations.

Facing South Africa, a team currently above them on the table, the Super Eagles will need to be at their defensive best while also creating scoring opportunities.

Ndidi's role will be to stifle South Africa's key playmakers and initiate counter-attacks, driving the team forward with his energy and vision.

Against Benin, a team known for their resilience, Ndidi's ability to break down their defensive structure and maintain control of the game will be crucial.

The Super Eagles have the talent and potential to overcome their recent setbacks, but key to their success will be ensuring that Wilfred Ndidi is at his best.

His form and performance will significantly influence Nigeria's chances of securing vital points and climbing back up the table.

As the team prepares for these decisive matches, all eyes will be on Ndidi to lead by example and help guide the Super Eagles to victory.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.