English Premiership

'He has got qualities' - Brendan Rodgers praises SA youngster after Leicester City debut

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Khanya Leshabela of Leicester City.
Khanya Leshabela of Leicester City.
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A delighted Brendan Rodgers on Sunday praised his Leicester City side after a dominant 5-0 win over Sheffield United and reserved special praise for young South African midfielder Thakgalo Leshabela who made his debut.

READ | South African youngster follows Percy Tau to make Premier League debut in Leicester win

Speaking to LCFC TV after the game, Rodgers had words of encouragement for the young South African midfielder who was introduced as a substitute in the 81st minute.

"He's worked very hard and we've given lots of young players the taste of first-team football," Rodgers said.

"He's a young player that has worked very hard, he was unfortunate not to go out on loan so we had to keep him to have him around the squad.

"Today he gets his reward for that [hard work]. But there's still a long way to go for him, but he has got qualities and he came into the game and showed a nice confidence."

At 21 years and 175 days old, Leshabela became the latest South African to feature in the Premier League following Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau, who was recalled by Brighton & Hove Albion in January.

A hat-trick by Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho, a strike by Ayoze Perez and an own goal by Ethan Ampadu sealed a comfortable 5-0 win for the Foxes.

Leshabela, who was born in Pretoria but relocated to the UK with his family at the age of two, joined the Leicester academy in 2013 and has shone in the youth ranks signing a long-term contract in 2019.

The young midfielder celebrated the proud moment with a post to his official Instagram account where he thanked fans for all the well wishes.

"Dreams 2 Reality, Proud to have made My Premier League Debut, Great performance from the boys, Thanks for all the love," he said.

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