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Leicester have Maguire model away kit

The Toe Poke
 By Colin Udoh

Five things to know about soon-to-be Leicester star Wilfred Onyinye Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi
Wilfred Ndidi looks set to join Premier League champions Leicester City in January.

Early this week, Genk midfielder Wilfred Onyinye Ndidi passed a medical at Leicester City and is now set to complete a five-year deal initially worth £15 million. The deal could rise to as high as £19m, depending on add-ons.

But who is this talented 19-year-old who has enjoyed a breakout season in Belgium with Genk?

Here are five things you need to know about the future Foxes star:

1. Nurtured by World Cup winner

Ndidi started out playing organised street football in the barracks of Lagos under the tutelage of Nigeria Under-17 World Cup winning captain Nduka Ugbade.

He showed so much promise and potential that Ugbade, then the assistant coach of the Nigerian U17 team, took him along to the national camp.

He eventually failed to make the cut.

2. Played at Copa Coca Cola under Victor Ikpeba

His first major tournament came under another World Cup star.

Former Nigeria and Monaco striker Victor Ikpeba led a team of youngsters to the Copa Coca Cola tournament in South Africa in 2010-11, and Ndidi was one of the standout players.

"I was really impressed by him," Ikpeba told ESPN FC. "Once you see him play, you just knew he would go places."

Such was the impression he left with the former Super Eagle that Ikpeba took him to Nath Boy's, the club owned and run by Yemi Idowu.

3. Serial winner

Ndidi has enjoyed the feeling of winning many times in his short career.

Playing for MFM FC, a church side in Lagos, his Ikeja beat the Headquarters team in the final, with Ndidi standing head and shoulders above the rest.

With Nath Boys, Ndidi helped the club win the Lagos Junior League, a competition for players in secondary school, three times in a row.

Wilfred Ndidi Genk
Ndidi has agreed to a five-year contract and has been earmarked as a long-term replacement for N'Golo Kante.

4. Can play multiple positions

This is no secret to those who know him in Nigeria, but Ndidi is a very versatile player who, in addition to his midfield roles, can play anywhere across the back.

With Nigeria struggling for a reliable right-back in their opening World Cup qualifier against Zambia, Ndidi was drafted to fill the role.

One match later, he was a late substitute for Chelsea's John Mikel Obi in midfield.

"He is a great player to have because you know he can play in multiple positions," Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr raved.

5. No red cards

For a midfield player with a high rate of interceptions and tackles, Ndidi has yet to pick up a red card in his playing career so far.

It is a statistic he is very proud of, and he remains keen to preserve it, even in the high intensity league that is England.

"He is a remarkably clean player who plays more with intelligence than with strength," Ikpeba said. "That's why you hardly see him get into trouble."

Leicester will certainly be hoping he can translate that to their midfield

Colin Udoh is a Nigeria football correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ColinUdoh.


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