Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Leicester City and the Nigeria national team as a midfielder. He is known for his versatility and can play across the back line and in midfield.
He was born on December 16, 1996 in Lagos where he spent his youth years at Nath Boys Academy in Lagos where he won numerous accolades. As a football player, Ndid started out as a forward or striker. He then began to play as a central defender for Nigeria’s youth teams and at the 2013 African U-17 Championship.
Ndidi made his Belgian Pro League debut with Genk on 31 January 2015 against Charleroi in a 1–0 away defeat. He played the first 74 minutes of the game, before being substituted for Jarne Vrijsen. He played a full back role in that game before returning to the centre-back position he played at the Nath Boys academy. He displayed a wide range of passing and shooting and began to be deployed as a central midfielder for the rest of the season.
Ndidi scored a long-range goal, which was named the goal of the season in the Belgian league during the Belgian League play-off game against Club Brugge. He scored two more goals before the end of the play-offs including another volley from outside the box against Anderlecht in a 5–2 win. He received the award as the third-best young player in the Belgian league for the 2015–16 season.
On 3 December 2016, Genk agreed a £17 million transfer deal with English champions Leicester City. At Leicester City, Ndidi made his debut on 7 January 2017, in a 2–1 win against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup. He made his first Premier League start on 14 January 2017 against Chelsea at home in a 3–0 defeat. In the English FA Cup game against Derby County on 8 February 2017, Ndidi came on in the first half of extra time and scored his first goal for Leicester through a long-range shot. In a 3–1 win over Liverpool on 27 February 2017, Ndidi won 11 of his 14 tackles, a feat bettered only by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté who made 14 tackles against the same club in January.
Ndidi got his first career red card in a 3–0 loss to Crystal Palace on 16 December 2017 (his birthday).
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As an international player, Ndidi was excluded along with two other players from the competition in the African U-17 Championship with Nigeria as a precaution, following an MRI age test that suggested he was just slightly above the threshold. Notwithstanding, he joined up with his teammates in the U-20 team the following year, forming the bedrock of the midfield.
On 8 October 2015, He was called up to the Senior Nigeria national football team making his debut in the friendly game against DR Congo, and playing again a few days later in the 3–0 win against Cameroon, when he replaced John Obi Mikel in the 63rd minute. He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics. In May 2018, Ndidi was named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30 man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.