Is Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi in line for African Player of the Year on current form?

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi returned from injury to provide a platform that inspired the Foxes to a 3-1 win over champions Liverpool, prompting calls for his nomination for African Player of the Year.

Ndidi was monstrous against the champions on the weekend, coming away with a season-high 19 ball recoveries, more than any other player has made in a game this season.

According to Squawka, the Nigerian won 12 duels, six aerial contests, five tackles, five clearances, three interceptions, three blocks and created two chances. He capped all of that with an assist.

Prior to his injury, Ndidi had lashed in a belter to open the scoring for the Foxes as they went on to claim a 2-0 victory over Chelsea.

All of which leads former Wolves and Nigeria midfielder Seyi Olofinjana to suggest that his compatriot should be in the mix for Africa's top award.

"I think he should be one of the three," Olofinjana told ESPN. "I don't see why not. But again, it will take real football people to sort of look beyond the flashy goals, the flashy dribbles, assists, and so on."

With competition from the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Olofinjana does not think that Ndidi will win the award, but insists that he is one of the top three players on the continent.

"There's more to football than just the flashy stuff," he said. "Don't get me wrong, those are the very important parts of the game.

"Talking about the Manes and the Salahs who are doing the business on the top end of the field, they will always get more recognition and accolades from the by the virtue of their position.

"But again, it takes somebody like Ndidi connecting a lot of these things from the back and making these guy play the football and he has the statistics to back that up, that's why we have to say come on, he deserves to be recognized for what he brings to the table.

"Can he win it at the moment? I don't think so. People will always look at the likes of Mane and Salah playing for big clubs and scoring goals. But I think he should be one of the three [nominated]."

Olofinjana, who played the same 'engine' role for Nigeria between 2000 and 2011, is pleased that there is more recognition for the midfielder now than there used to be, with Ndidi getting the accolades both at club and international level that eluded Olofinjana himself and the likes of Garba Lawal before him.

Since joining Leicester from Genk in 2017, Ndidi has not only slotted in seamlessly, but has become an integral part of the first team squad when he is fit and available.

Olofinjana added: "The best league in the world, as far as I'm concerned, is the Premier League and for someone like Ndidi to have come from Belgium and taken England by storm since 2017, to make the number of appearances he has till date under different managers, that tells you all you need to know.

"He has done immensely well. That position, just thinking about myself in that sort of role and seeing how very much you need to prepare, how hard you need to run, you're almost the engine of the team and unfortunately, a lot of it goes unnoticed but obviously seen by very good football people.

"They see that the run you made has actually blocked a pass, allowed or disallowed a pass from going through. A lot of people don't get to see that.

"For him to have done what he has done, he is phenomenal I must say and not just for Leicester but also for Nigeria as well. All of a sudden, he is becoming a main figure in the team and from what I can, he has taken on the mantle immensely well and he is doing a very good job."

And he has no doubt about Ndidi being the best holding midfielder on the continent: "Without a shadow of a doubt. Who are the guys out there... maybe Thomas Partey who plays in that position at the moment, who has been in Europe longer than him? I think Ndidi is top 10, if not top five in the world."