SA player officially part of Leicester City's first team squad in new English premier league season

26 June 2019 - 14:39 By Nick Said
Khanya Leshabela of Leicester looks dejected after the Tottenham second goal during the Premier League 2 match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur on March 08, 2019 in Leicester, England.
Khanya Leshabela of Leicester looks dejected after the Tottenham second goal during the Premier League 2 match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur on March 08, 2019 in Leicester, England.
Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images

South Africa Under-20 winger Khanya Leshabela is officially a part of the Leicester City first team squad for the coming season‚ a rare presence for the country in England’s Premier League.

Leshabela will be given the chance to fight for the place under coach Brendon Rodgers‚ and joins only Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman as South African-born players in one of the world’s elite leagues.

The 19-year-old made just a single appearance at the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup‚ playing 76 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Portugal when Amajita were already facing elimination.

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Leshabela plays as a winger but can also tuck inside and his path to a starting place is blocked by a number of experienced internationals at the Foxes‚ though he can point to the likes of Hamza Choudhury and Ben Chilwell who have made a successful step up to the first team from the Under-23s in the last few years.

As things stand though he is the youngest member of the first team squad and the only teenager in the group.

Leshabela was handed a three-and-a-half-year contract by Leicester in January‚ after excelling in his first season with the club’s Under-23s.

He did earn a place on the first team bench in a League clash with Southampton last season‚ but did not make it onto the pitch.

“I’ve worked hard to get this and I’m just grateful to be given such an opportunity‚” he said at the time.

“I’m just looking to push forward and push into the first team.

“It’s gone really quick. It literally just flies by. It’s been a good journey and I just want to stay in the game for many more years.”

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