Brendan Rodgers says he put the team first, even as Leicester City fans grow impatient to see Kelechi Iheanacho in the starting line-up.
The Nigerian striker has not started a game for the Foxes this season, despite his terrific run of form at the end of the last campaign that saw him finish as club’s top scorer.
The 24-year-old was brought into the side last season, after Harvey Barnes’ campaign-ending knee injury, with Rodgers changing to a 3-4-1-2 shape.
This season, City have reverted to a 4-2-3-1 system, and so if Rodgers wanted to include Iheanacho but retain the formation, it is likely one of Jamie Vardy or James Maddison would have to be left out.
Asked if it was becoming more difficult to leave Iheanacho out of the starting line-up, Rodgers said: “I’m just really happy with the contribution. I see him every day, I know his strengths and I know the areas he can improve on.
“What he’s doing is he’s making an impact, and I think that’s how it started for him here, I was bringing him into games and he was doing well. It’s nice now that people have the confidence in him that he’s going to contribute.
“There will be enough opportunities over the course of the season for him to start games. It’s really about the team, I’m not so much worried about the individual, I need to pick a team that I feel is going to win, and if I need to change a game, I have a bench to be able to do that, and that’s what we have.
“I’m always supportive of the individual player, but the team is always more important. You can’t play with six attacking players.
“He’s a very important player for us, whether he comes into the game or whether he starts.”
However, Iheanacho could get his first start of the season on Thursday, when City host Napoli in their Europa League opener.
If he does start, he will hope to pick up where he left off last season, when he scored or set up 17 goals in the final 15 matches of the campaign, making him one of the most in-form strikers in Europe.
He now has 40 goals for City since joining the club in 2017, putting him 46th on the club’s all-time list.