Leicester City manager, Brendan Rogers, has explained that he picked Ayoze Perez ahead of Kelechi Iheanacho when the Foxes came up against Stoke City last Saturday because of the Spaniard’s midfield qualities and not because the Nigerian missed a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.
With Jamie Vardy out with a hip problem, Perez was selected to lead the line instead of Iheanacho at Stoke, the Spaniard going on to score the third of Leicester’s four as they breezed into the fourth round of the English FA Cup.
But it was not his goals that he was brought in for, but rather to ensure he could drop deep and help Leicester outnumber the Stoke midfield three of John Obi Mikel, Joe Allen, and Sam Clucas.
The above-mentioned Stoke trio have Premier League experience, but Perez was able to help out Dennis Praet, Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans to win the midfield battle.
There was no suggestion that Iheanacho’s previous outing, in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace where he missed a penalty, was a factor in Rodgers’ decision.
“I thought he was excellent,” Rodgers said in an interview with the club’s website. “With Stoke playing with three centre-halves, and three strong centre-halves who are good in the duel, and then with the system they were playing with the three midfield players, we thought we could have a striker who could detach himself from the defenders to give us an extra man in midfield.
“Ryan Shawcross and Harry Souttar and the boys are very strong and very aggressive, so taking one of the players off that forward line and come in and play in midfield, to give us that four versus three.
“Whereas, Kelechi is more a player who plays on the last line and behind it.
“So I thought Ayo (Ayoze) did very well. He deserved his goal and worked very hard.”