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11 August 2017

Trapped in two places: Daniel Amartey’s Leicester predicament

Ahead of Leicester City’s trip to Arsenal on the opening weekend of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, Citi Sports’ Benjamin Nketsia wonders if Daniel Amartey is being properly utilised by the Foxes.

Making a quick stop at both the Leicester City official website as well as the Premier League website before putting anything down was essential.

I needed to fully digest the fact that indeed the energetic and budding centre back from Ghana had slowly morphed into a midfielder.

His club side and the league he plays in have him tagged as a midfielder but is that who he really is a player?

Perhaps, the endless well of energy and his age are the two factors that have convinced the technical hands through which Amartey has passed to believe that his future lies in the middle of the park and not as a defender.

However, I do not share in this attempt to re-calibrate Amartey’s position. Amartey is suffering a situation I believe has arisen as a result of Leicester’s decision to prioritize loyalty ahead of pragmatism.

Wes Morgan has been a fantastic servant to the club but his continuous presence at the centre of Leicester’s defence is why Amartey has to settle for less.

Yes, playing in central midfield is forcing the young man to grope around in the dark in a position where his greatest strength will not be maximized.

He has made 38 appearances since joining the Foxes and while many will argue that play-making is far from his primary duties a passing accuracy of 83 percent with one assist to his name gives one a good idea of where his talents are better needed.

As the opening game of the 2017/2018 English Premier League season between Arsenal and Leicester edges closer, the status and progress of one of Leicester’s potential break out players remain murky.

Not knowing if he will be employed as a centre-back or central midfielder going into a game is problematic for a footballer and often leads to the situation where one eventually earns the tag of a utility player.

It kills any potential there is to specialize in key aspects of his game as well as developing signature attributes.

To make matters worse, he has seen his role within the team declined sharply since the departure of Claudio Ranieri last season.

The last thing he needs heading into a World Cup year is a club that considers him a back up option and will not play him in his strongest position.

The Premier League stage is bigger this season. The eyeballs that observe the game have doubled meaning that the time is ripe now more than ever for players to market themselves globally.

For the young Amartey, the time has come to define who and what he is as a player.

Amartey is expected to be part of the Leicester team that travels to play against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2017/2018 Premier League live on Citi FM brought to listeners by Premium Bank, Betway and Slydepay.

By: Benjamin Nketsia/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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