Analysis: How does Cengiz Under fit into this Leicester City team?
LEEDS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City celebrates with Cengiz Under of Leicester City after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Leicester City at Elland Road (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

When Cengiz Under arrived at Leicester City in September, many Foxes supporters' believed the Turkish winger would be joining the spearhead in Brendan Rodgers' attack this season.

However, Rodgers has only started his new winger in one game so far this season, where he played 66 minutes in the 2-1 victory at AEK Athens.

Since his arrival, Under has created two goals in three Premier League games and is now seriously in contention to start.

After defeating Manchester City 5-2 in September with a 5-4-1 diamond, Rodgers used a 3-4-2-1 to defeat Arsenal, Athens and now Leeds United.

So the question lies, where does Under fit into this Leicester City squad?

How has Under portrayed himself so far?

Under was brought in from AS Roma on a loan move with an option for making the move permanent. He made his debut in the 3-0 home defeat to West Ham United, before being an unused substitute in another home defeat to Aston Villa.

However, after coming on with 15 minutes remaining at the Emirates, Under finally showed his quality with an inch-perfect cross for Jamie Vardy to earn the club their first victory at Arsenal since 1973.

Joe Brewin, Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo, has been impressed with the impact Under has made when called-upon.

"He's looked very bright and certainly made an impact, which is all you can have asked of him at this stage.

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"Demarai Gray looked useful off the bench on occasions last season, but he's sadly shown time and again that he can't be relied upon consistently."

Following last season's collapse which saw Leicester miss out on UEFA Champions League football, one of the main positions that required improving was out wide.

Brewin believes that the 23-year-old is capable of performing for the club, he said: "There was a spot to fill for an impact player, then, and Under looks capable of being just that – as he showed with that assist against Arsenal.

"He was our brightest player in the Europa League at AEK Athens, too. Fans like wingers who are proactive, and in Barnes and Under we've got two of them now."

Is he the overdue replacement to Riyad Mahrez?

Two years have passed since Riyad Mahrez said goodbye to the King Power Stadium, sealing a move to Manchester City for £60m.

Since then, both Rachid Ghezzal and Ayoze Perez have failed to provide the prowess from the right-hand-side. With Perez still at the club, but struggling to make the squad, and Ghezzal on loan at Besiktas, a wide player was needed.

Under, like Mahrez, prefers to cut-in from the right and unleash with his left-foot. Against Leeds, Under made only seven passes, with one of those resulting in the third goal. He also made seven passes against Mikel Arteta's side.

At both Arsenal and Leeds, the tricky winger had only 12 touches of the ball, grabbing an assist for Vardy in both.

On his thoughts on whether Under could be the replacement to Mahrez, Brewin said: "It's a huge ask: Mahrez was frankly irreplaceable for us, so comparing him, or anyone we sign, with him isn't really fair.

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"But he's certainly got that similar ability to get backsides off the sofa, you don't really know what he's capable of next."

The football club has evolved since the Mahrez-days, with Rodgers setting his team out to catch teams on the counter-attack when faced with tough opponents away from home.

It is not surprising that Under is yet to start a game in the league. Against Wolverhampton Wanderers next week, Under could finally be handed his chance against a side that set up in a 3-4-3 formation.

Will he fit into Rodgers' plan?

Going back to when football restarted following lockdown, it became clear that Rodgers was slowly transforming his side to play traditionally with a 3-5-2 (or a 3-4-2-1) formation.

With the versatility that a number of players possess, alongside the results they picked up on the way, it is very likely Rodgers will continue with this.

At the moment, Leicester are currently without four key first-team players with Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu, Wilfred Ndidi and Jonny Evans all out injured.

When these players return, it will make even more sense to deploy the three at the back with wing-backs patrolling the width. So what does this mean for Under?

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Brewin discussed his thoughts on why he wouldn't start as much: "I think Rodgers will look to nail down a 3-5-2 when everyone is back fit.

"He's used it so many times now even when we haven't appeared to have the right players for it, but Castagne and Ricardo just make for such a mouth-watering prospect on the flanks.

"There's also the issue of fitting in Evans, Soyuncu and Fofana when everyone is fit, and such a system would allow for that. Under might not be a complete victim, but I'd suspect Barnes is the most likely candidate to play up there with Vardy if it comes to that."

Against teams such as Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and the other quality sides, this makes sense but against teams who the Foxes would expect to defeat at home, it has proven not to work.

Leicester were dragged down to earth following the victory at the Etihad Stadium when David Moyes' side eased to a convincing 3-0 victory in the East Midlands.

Rodgers continued with the 3-5-2 and it did not work. When facing side's who will sit deeper than usual, the 4-1-4-1 formation that sees the side enjoy possession will be better suited.

If this was the case, Barnes and Under being utilised as inverted wingers will provide more damage to opponents, which of course help Leicester's main threat as he attempts to feed off through balls from wide.

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Discussing the clubs' possession of two wingers who are capable of playing as an inverted winger or inside forward, Brewin said: "I think Vardy thrives off having players close to him, and I'd much rather see forwards cut in and attack like Barnes than hug the touchline.

"It helps Vardy but also means we're less likely to pump aimless balls into the box, which is not what we're about under Rodgers anyway."

When asked about the contribution from Under following the 4-1 win at Leeds, Rodgers was full of praise for the summer arrival.

"What I love about Cengiz is, he runs in-behind," the Foxes manager continued. "He tries to penetrate the line and you see his class, he could have easily went for himself, but just to square it. 

"It show's he has no ego as well. So he's a very talented player and whether they start the game or come off the bench, the contribution has been very good.

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