What next for Patson Daka? Leicester striker explodes onto scene with 5 goals in 2 games

Stuart Hodge
  • 22 Oct 2021 12:46 BST
  • 6 min read
Patson Daka playing for Leicester in pre-season versus QPR

Patson Daka hasn’t featured much for Leicester City since his arrival from Red Bull Salzburg in the summer – but the striker’s four-goal haul in the Europa League in midweek has made everyone sit up and take notice.

Daka became Leicester’s joint-record European goalscorer with all of the goals scored in a single game as he put four past Spartak Moscow in the Russian capital in midweek.

The 23-year-old has been signed with the future in mind, Brendan Rodgers has made that clear, especially with the Foxes having both Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho as options for the moment.

But after netting from the bench in the 4-2 win over Manchester United, Daka was given the start in Moscow and took full advantage so he is making a case for his inclusion on a more regular basis.

The striker has had his only starts in European competition so far, but after being hooked in both the 2-2 draw with Napoli and the disappointing defeat in Poland to Legia Warsaw, Daka’s performance against Spartak showed why Leicester shelled out over €25 million to bring him in from the Austrian Bundesliga.

Perfect role model to learn from

Jamie Vardy is expected to return to the team for the Premier League clash with Brentford this weekend, and Daka has only clocked 39 league minutes so far for Leicester so this is an obvious area the Zambian striker could target to improve – ensuring he plays more Premier League football.

He could perhaps nudge himself ahead of Iheanacho but is unlikely to dislodge the Englishman as Leicester’s chief livewire up front in the future. Longer term though, the plan is for him to replace Vardy, 34, as the Foxes’ main man and Rodgers revealed they had that in mind when signing him.

Stylistically, the players are similar, and Daka obviously has plenty he can learn from the man who is more than a decade his senior and has over 250 Premier League games (and 120 goals at a strike rate of almost one goal every two games, to boot) under his belt.

Rodgers said: “He’s the profile of a player we wanted to bring in. When we were looking for a striker, we needed someone who could be here over these next numbers of years, someone that of course can learn from Jamie.

“His profile was that he runs in behind and he’s a great finisher. You saw all of that (on Wednesday).

“Since he came into the club, he’s not stopped smiling and he’s not stopped working. He’s in pole position to learn and he’s a clever guy, so he watches Jamie, of course he does.

“But his talent is his talent, that’s what he does, he runs in behind, he finishes left foot, right foot, and he has a wonderful enthusiasm for the game. He’s a natural goalscorer like Jamie.”

Daka needs to continue to take advantage of his opportunities in the Europa League and impact things more in domestic matches, but if he can continue doing that consistently he will make it harder and harder for Rodgers to keep him on the bench.