Former England forward Michael Owen has blamed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for failing to get the best out of Kelechi Iheanacho.
Owen, now a football pundit on TV, believes that the Spanish trainer has failed to help the 20-year-old Nigerian forward build on his confidence from his performance under City’s previous manager Manuel Pellegrini.
It was under Pellegrini that Iheanacho earned his first-team place and thrived whenever he came off the bench to make his mark.
However, Owen now thinks Iheanacho’s self-confidence “has taken a hit” with the striker uncertain about “what could happen (to him at City) next.”
“Iheanacho isn’t the same player he was once. His confidence has taken a hit, and I think he plays with a lot of pressure as he is unsure what could happen next unlike when Pelligrini was in charge.
“He is surrounded by players he knows have the trust of the manager unlike during Pellegrini’s reign where he had the trust of the manager and knows it, he has regressed under Guardiola. He is under pressure,” Owen said.
Owen’s comment comes after Guardiola opted to pull off Iheanacho, who surprisingly started against Burnley on Monday for Sergio Aguero at the start of the second half.
The Manchester City manager after the game owned up that “it was a mistake (not to start Aguero).”
Iheanacho scored four times for City in the league with three assists in 14 matches, including nine as substitute.