Leicester manager Enzo Maresca is pleased with the return of Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who came on in the 72nd minute as the Foxes claimed a 1-0 win over Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Ndidi’s return to the pitch was a big boost for City, the Nigerian making his first appearance of 2024. It was a surprise outing for the midfielder, who has only just returned to full training sessions after two-and-a-half months out, and Maresca admitted he wasn’t intending to use him, despite naming him on the bench.

The manager told BBC Radio Leicester: “Wilf was with us just to be with the team at this moment. The idea was not to give him any minutes. But we needed an effort from him, a sacrifice, and he did fantastic.”

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The experienced midfielder is one of the Super Eagles’ key players and he missed the continental tournament after sustaining an injury while in action for Leicester City.

Ndidi, who missed Leicester’s 10 English Championship matches, watched on as Nigeria went all the way to the AFCON final where they lost to hosts Ivory Coast.

The 27-year-old has featured in 25 matches for Leicester this season – scoring four times and providing six assists.