Schoolboy switch a vital move for Musa

LONDON • Leicester City's record signing Ahmed Musa admits his best decision was giving up goalkeeping as a schoolboy to become a striker.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international moved to the King Power Stadium for £16.5 million (S$29.4 million) from CSKA Moscow this month and has no worries about coping with the physical challenge of the English Premier League.

Musa says the switch to playing as a striker was a decision that made his career.

"I was a goalie between 10 and 12," he revealed.

"But changing was the best decision of my life because I would never have been good enough to become a professional goalkeeper.

"It was difficult at first but then you get used to the fact you are not very big. A lot of people used to tell me, 'Musa, you are too small to be a striker.' But I said: 'It doesn't matter what size you are, it's what you can do that matters'."

He is now a short-term understudy and potential longer-term replacement for England striker Jamie Vardy, who is six years his senior.

But Musa believes the pair would also be able to operate in tandem.

Musa also compared himself to Vardy and pointed out the similarities between them.

"I think I am like Jamie Vardy. I have speed, I like to work hard, we are similar in lots of things," he said.

"Am I faster? I can't say yet, I have never played with him. But I am looking forward to finding out!"

The Nigerian also admitted he has been stunned by the Leicester work ethic in pre-season training.

"When I started my first session I was thinking 'wow'," he said.

"Because I had never seen that in Russia. The intensity here is quite different to Russia.

"I think that is the most difficult thing, but I think that is the secret behind Leicester's success.

"Everyone is focused and everyone is happy with each other. That's the biggest secret - if you're all happy with each other you can achieve a lot."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Schoolboy switch a vital move for Musa'. Print Edition | Subscribe