The Super Eagles star played his first match since March as he played 60 minutes for the Foxes in their pre-season win against Derby County
Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi played his first match in four months during Leicester City’s 3-1 win over League One side Derby County in a pre-season match on Saturday.
Ndidi started and managed 60 minutes of the encounter that Brendan Rogers’ side won courtesy of goals from Nigerian compatriot Kelechi Iheanacho, Zambian Patson Daka and Englishman Callum Wright
After a first-half stalemate, Iheanacho slammed a well-taken strike into the net for his maiden goal of pre-season before Derby’s Tom Barkhuizen levelled matters 10 minutes later but Daka struck for the third time in pre-season before Wright completed the scoring.
Ndidi started in a three-man midfield alongside Youri Tielemans and Luke Thomas as Rodgers went with a 3-5-2 system before he was substituted after an hour, with Senegalese Nampalys Mendy taking his place.
The Nigerian has been out since March 10 when he limped off in the 60th minute of Leicester’s 2-1 loss to Rennes in the Europa Conference League last 16, second leg match with tests revealing that he had suffered a knee injury.
The setback saw him miss the rest of the season with the Foxes feeling the full force of his absence as they struggled to get going in midfield and ended up missing out on European football following an eighth-place finish, having managed fifth in 2020-21.
Ndidi was also absent for Nigeria’s crucial World Cup playoff against arch-rivals Ghana in March when the Black Stars eliminated the Super Eagles from the global tournament, on away goals, following a goalless stalemate in Kumasi before a 1-1 draw in Abuja.
The 25-year-old was also not available for Nigeria’s two friendly defeats to Mexico and Ecuador in the United States in May as well as the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June where the Super Eagles beat Sierra Leone 2-1 at home before thrashing Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 away.
Ndidi made 31 appearances while scoring twice for Leicester last season and his return is a boost to Rodgers ahead of the 2022-23 campaign as well as Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro, who will now count on him for September’s 2023 Afcon qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau.
The former Genk midfielder has been at Leicester for six years, managing 207 games while scoring 11 goals.