Leicester City’s Zambian striker has not score for four months, and has now played just four minutes in the Premier League in 2023, with the club’s other forwards preferred
Patson Daka’s last goal came against Bournemouth in October. The goals dried up for Patson Daka, and now the opportunities have too.
The Leicester City striker, who has not scored for four months, has made just one, four-minute appearance in the club’s six Premier League games in 2023. At the beginning of the season, he was battling Jamie Vardy for a starting spot, but now he’s having to watch as Kelechi Iheanacho leads the line and Vardy comes on as a substitute.
This was supposed to be the season that Daka kicked on, having had a year to adjust to the Premier League. In his maiden campaign, the Zambian occasionally looked isolated, but still managed to get on the scoresheet fairly regularly, and he did reach double figures.
This season, he looked to be making progress when he scored three goals in four games in September and October, but a drought before the World Cup has continued since, and now he’s barely getting off the bench.
Rodgers said previously that goals were not integral to Daka starting because of the other attributes he brought to the game, the 24-year-old quick to press and close down opposition centre-backs. But with Iheanacho providing a better balance to the attack, Daka has struggled to get a look-in.
Asked if Daka had progressed as the club had hoped, Rodgers said: “It doesn’t matter in terms of progression. He’s a valuable member of the squad.
“Him and Kels, at different times they’ve been playing. Kels has been playing really well so his form has meant that he’s played. When we’ve then wanted someone to go in behind, Vards has been the person we’ve looked at.
“Patson is still training well every day and if the moment comes for him, then he will be there. He’s adapted really well. It’s always a challenge coming into this league but he’s been a great support striker. He just needs to keep working and if the opportunity arises, look to take it.”
While Vardy has been the man Rodgers has been turning to off the bench, he too has been struggling for form. He has just one Premier League goal to his name this season, and has not scored since a Carabao Cup win at MK Dons in December.
That Vardy is being preferred to Daka is perhaps a surprise, given that Rodgers admitted last month that time was catching up with City’s number nine.
“Jamie is an amazing player for this club and will go down as a legend of the club,” Rodgers said. “Unfortunately, it happens to everyone. There’s always periods in players’ careers where it starts to dip. We’ve seen it with all the great players.
“That’s why I was always cautious with him. He’s a great player to have in our squad and whether he starts or comes off the bench, he can make an impact. But we can’t be reliant on Jamie. It’s the obligation for everyone to score goals, not just him.
“However it goes for him, it won’t take away anything he did before. It happens to everyone, otherwise some of the great legends of the game would be playing to this very day. Time catches up with everyone. He’s still very determined to make whatever impact he can for the club and I’m glad he’s here to do that.”
Both Vardy and Daka will have to watch on from the start against Arsenal on Saturday, with Iheanacho again expected to lead the line. It will be just his fifth Premier League start of the season, having scored in three of the previous four.
Does Daka deserve more opportunities?
ByJordan Blackwell | Leicester Mercury
Daka deserves more opportunities, he can do it.