Rodgers clarifies 39th-minute Iheanacho subs vs Norwich City

Kelechi Iheanacho was substituted in the first half of Leicester City’s 1-1 draw against Norwich City owing to tactical reasons, Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.

Iheanacho was replaced by Demarai Gray shortly after the Foxes cancelled out Teemu Pukki’s opener through Tim Krul’s own goal in the 38th minute.

Saturday’s outing was the 23-year-old’s second Premier League start of the season and Rodgers has described his substitution as nothing personal but a change of flow after their slow start.

“It was one where we wanted to go to 4-3-3 and when we moved him out to the side, he’s not a natural winger, he’s not one who can play on that outside,” the manager was quoted by Leicester Mercury.

“So I can either leave it and wait until half-time or make the change when I did. And then make the other change on half-time. It was purely a tactical one.

“He was fine. He was disappointed because he’s been terrific for us in the past few games. He understands, he knows it was nothing personal, just the flow of the game needed to change.

“It was probably the right result. We didn’t start so well in our pressing and then our passing was slow. In fairness to Norwich, they played well in that opening period.

“I felt we needed to change it. We started with the same shape as last week but it wasn’t quite working for us. We made the change and the last 15 minutes of the first half was better when we went to 4-3-3.

“In the second half we were much better, but it looked like the ball was never going to drop for us. We got the goal back as well earlier but we just couldn’t quite find that quality and final pass to get the winner.”

Before his replacement, Iheanacho was involved in a melee with Norwich City players for continuing play after the ball was kicked out to seek medical treatment for Emiliano Buendia.

In his reaction to the incident, Rodgers said the Super Eagles forward, scorer of four goals in five games this season, misunderstood the situation and he could have been expelled.

“He totally misread that situation. The ball should go back. Thankfully nothing came of that,” he continued.

“Most times the ball will be given back. It led to the situation which might have led to a red card which would have been an awkward one as well.

“They were disappointed that he wanted to try to get in and score. Young Kels, I’m not sure what he was thinking to be honest. He’s an honest boy. He’s clearly got kicked. Thankfully it was sorted out and nothing else happened.”

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