Super Eagles and Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has been branded a “machine” after making a miraculous recovery from knee surgery ahead of Wednesday night’s match against West Ham.
The Nigerian international had been scheduled to sit on the sidelines for four to six weeks after an operation to remove a floating bone from his meniscus.
But just 13 days on from the surgery, he has a “great chance” of featuring at the King Power Stadium against the Hammers.
Club boss Brendan Rodgers said the club’s long-serving head physio Dave Rennie had only seen one similarly speedy return to fitness from such an injury, by ex- midfielder Robbie Savage.
“He’s made an incredible recovery,” Rodgers said of Ndidi.arsenal Rodgers
“I spoke to Dave [Rennie] and I think the other one he had was Robbie Savage when he was here. He had a similar sort of injury and came back and played within a very short period of time.
“The only other one I can remember was Luis Suarez who had a similar one during the 2014 World Cup. He came back for the group games after virtually a week when he’d gone away with Uruguay and thought he was out.
“It’s all about the individual. Genetics more than anything.
“Wilf is just a machine. The day after the operation he was on the move. Then he’s starting to jog.
“If we were playing in an FA Cup final a few days ago he could probably have been playing in it. But we wanted to make sure the knee was clean. He’s been running, he’s been tackling, he’s been aggressive, he’s had the tests.
“If there had been any effects then it would have taken place over the last few days, but he’s come through it really well.
“It’s a testament to him and our medical team, the work that’s gone in to get him fit, that’s he’s available.
“There will have been other players who unfortunately, genetically, won’t have got through it and had other issues.”
At the last count, Leceister have failed to win any of three games since Ndidi’s absence after Premier League defeats to Burnley and Southampton alongside the draw with Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.
Wilfred Ndidi is all smiles at Leicester City’s Belvoir Drive base
And Rodgers admitted that the Eagles star has been missed.
“He’s so valuable to us,” Rodgers said. “That type of player, especially at this time of the season, is vital for you.
“He gives a lot of the talent in the team that chance to express himself because of the ground that he covers. He’s like having two players.
“He allows the team to defend and defend forward, he covers a lot of space for our attacking players, and there are not too many better him than do that job.
“He’s a phenomenal player. So to have him back, and early, is a huge boost for us. He has been a miss, no doubt.
“He’s improved. If you look at how he plays, it’s not just his aggression and his defensive side – he’s always available for the ball. He’s constantly on it and gets us playing forward.
“His biggest strength is that he’s a learner. He has such an appetite to learn the game. He wants to know everything. For him as a young player, you can see the developments because he wants to. He looks after his life. That’s what’s going to give him a great career.
“It’s great, great news for us, a big boost,” Rodgers was quoted as saying on leicestermercury.co.uk.