ANALYSIS: Why Pellegrini needs to put Iheanacho in City’s Champions League squad

Kelechi Iheanacho

With his three goals on Saturday, Kelechi Iheanacho should be added to the Manchester City squad for the second phase of the UEFA Champions League, for which he was omitted in the first phase.

The Nigerian striker has eight goals from just seven starts, a stat that has definitely put his manager, Manuel Pelligrini, in a conundrum on which player to leave out of his UEFA Champions League squad.

After the 4-0 win over Aston Villa, Pellegrini said, “One of them [Bony, Nasri and Iheanacho] looks set to miss out.

“It is a decision we have to make but he of course he [Iheanacho] is pushing a lot for a place.

Pellegrini continued: “We have a young player who is very important for our club. We have good players who are ready to play and you must keep the options. I know we have a player who deserves space in the squad.”

And an ever humble Iheanacho told City Television that despite the hat-trick, he has to continue working hard to impress his manager.

“I’m so glad to score a hat-trick, it’s a great day in my life but it’s not the greatest day of my life because I need to keep working hard.

“This is the starting point of my career so I need to keep going. It’s important to get an early goal. The penalty was very good, I took my time, it was a very good penalty for me.”

The 19-year-old started the season as the third-choice striker but with his goals return per minute, he has eclipsed Wilfried Bony in the scoring stakes. Bony has eight goals in 23 games [1259 minutes] while Iheanacho has scored eight goals in 18 games [412 minutes].

The Champions League squad has to be finalized before Tuesday evening and Pellegrini has to decide who to drop between Bony, Samir Nasri and Iheanacho.

“With [Wilfried] Bony injured, we need another striker for our first tie (against Dynamo Kyiv on February 24).

“And both [Kevin] de Bruyne and Nasri might be out until March,” Pellegrini added.

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