Daniel Amartey spent almost two years on the sidelines due to an ankle injury but the Ghana international has provided Leicester City with a much-needed boost as the end of the Premier League season approaches.
Since the beginning of the year, Amartey has featured 12 times, including a goal in a 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in March. The Foxes are fighting on multiple fronts, too, with Champions League qualification in their sights and an FA Cup final against Chelsea to come. His skills will be called upon numerous times thanks to a hectic schedule.
Many pundits and commentators will back against Amartey’s team at Wembley and perhaps understandably so, given they are the outsiders. Bet365 is one of the most popular bookmakers in the world, often at the top of the rankings for best-betting sites in India and elsewhere. They currently make Leicester 11/8 (2.38) lift the FA Cup, while Chelsea is 4/7 (1.57) to come out on top. They are certainly in the driving seat if the odds are to be believed.
However, the Foxes are currently above Chelsea in the Premier League table and have already beaten them 2-0 in their only league meeting this season. Although the London club has since changed manager and enjoyed a great run of form under Thomas Tuchel, this game is far from decided given the talent on show on both sides of the pitch.
The 2016-17 champions have reveled in their status as underdogs for the past few years and proved their doubters wrong time and time again. Indeed, Amartey arrived from FC Copenhagen for £6 million the year that the Foxes recorded an incredible 5000/1 Premier League triumph.
Despite his injuries issues since arriving in England, the club rewarded him with a new four-year contract in 2018, allowing a complete focus on recovery without worrying about his long-term future in the East Midlands of England. Having been able to force his way back into the starting XI at times, Amartey will be aiming to make it onto the pitch at Wembley in May and make a case for another extension.
That will be no easy task. Competition is fierce at the King Power Stadium, but manager Brendan Rodgers is able to call upon Amartey’s versatility in many positions. That has served him well since his return from the sidelines. The 26-year-old can play at right-back, centre back, and in central midfield.
What’s more, he has demonstrated this flexibility for both club and country since being called up to the Ghana national side in 2015. Given that Leicester has deployed both a 3-5-2 with attacking wing-backs and a 4-2-3-1 at times this term, Amartey could be called upon to slot into either system with ease.
It’s not just FA Cup glory that is on the agenda for the Foxes over the next few months. Having slipped out of the top four in the final game of last season, they are looking to secure a return to the Champions League this time around. Things are looking good for Rodgers’s side for now, but the Northern Irish manager will be painfully aware of how his side faded into the fifth spot just a year ago.
Not only is Amartey’s availability a good option for Leicester, but Ghana should benefit too – in time. Although the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations was unable to be played as planned at the start of the year, the rescheduled dates aim for the tournament to occur in January 2022. Ghana has already secured qualification, courtesy of winning Group C, and Charles Akonnor’s men will be aiming to go all the way for the first time since 1982.
Source: Ghana Soccernet