South African midfielder, Khanya Leshabela has been praised by Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers after making his first-team debut with the English Premier League side. Leshabela, 21, who joined the Foxes’ academy in 2013, made his long-awaited English top-flight debut in their 5-0 victory over Sheffield United last weekend.
The South Africa youth international was introduced in the 81st minute of the clash at the King Power Stadium for Ayoze Perez after being named on the bench seven times this season in all competitions.
“Yeah [he’s worked] very [hard], we’ve given a lot of young players the taste of first-team football and he’s a young player who’s worked very hard, he was unfortunate not go on loan,” Rodgers explained via LCFC TV.
Rodgers said they had to keep Leshabela to have him around the first-team squad and they got his reward for that. He said there is still a long way to go for Leshabela but he’s got quality and he came into the game again showed nice confidence.
Leshabela represented South Africa at the Under-20 AFCON and Under-20 World Cup in 2019 under the management of former national youth team coach, Thabo Senong. He was born in Pretoria and relocated to the UK with his family at the age of two. After joining the Leicester academy in 2013 he signed a long-term contract with the club in 2019.
At 21 years, he became South Africa’s latest player to feature in the Premier League after Percy Tau was recalled from his loan spell in Belgium by Brighton in January this year.
The win moved Leicester into third place in the standings. Leicester has a couple of tough matches ahead with this next fixture a FA Cup quarter-final match at home against Manchester United on Sunday, the 21st of March, while their next league match is also at home, but this time against Manchester City Saturday, the 3rd of April.
Leshabela will no doubt be hoping to make in impact in both those fixtures.