As a young buck let go by Arsenal’s academy as a teenager, Stephy Mavididi received a message from Gunners legend Thierry Henry with instructions on how to achieve his dream of being a Premier League footballer. ‘Be brave, believe in yourself,’ it read.

It has been a long road back to the top for Mavididi, now 25, via loans in the Football League and training alongside Cristiano Ronaldo when at Juventus’ Under 23 side. But he was recommended to French club Dijon by Henry and has not looked back since.

He is now an integral member of Enzo Maresca’s Leicester side having joined from Montpellier and soon could complete his Premier League ambitions. 

A goal and assist here helped the Foxes to stop the rot of a nightmare month that saw them win just one of the previous six.

Mavididi is starring in this new-look Leicester team who had, until recently, taken this league by storm. He scored alongside ever-improving Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. But there is still room for the old guard, seen by substitute Jamie Vardy making sure of the three points in stoppage time.

Stephy Mavididi scored and notched an assist as Leicester fought back to defeat Norwich

Stephy Mavididi scored and notched an assist as Leicester fought back to defeat Norwich

Stephy Mavididi scored and notched an assist as Leicester fought back to defeat Norwich

The 25-year-old has 16 goal contributions in 40 Championship games for the Foxes this season

The 25-year-old has 16 goal contributions in 40 Championship games for the Foxes this season

The 25-year-old has 16 goal contributions in 40 Championship games for the Foxes this season

Leicester were 14 points clear of third in the Championship on Valentine’s Day but started Easter Monday outside the automatic promotion places. 

MATCH FACTS 

LEICESTER (4-3-3): Hermansen; Doyle, Vestergaard, Faes, Pereira (Choudhury 85), Dewsbury-Hall, Winks, Ndidi (Praet 85), Mavididi (Akgun 89), Daka (Vardy 77), Fatawu (Justin 88)

Subs: Stolarczyk, Coady, Iheanacho, Marcal

Goals: Dewsbury-Hall 33′, Mavididi 61′, Vardy 90+3′

Booked: Vestergaard

Manager: Enzo Maresca

NORWICH 4-2-3-1): Gunn; McCallum, Gibson, Sorensen (Duffy 10), Stacey, McLean, Nunez (Gibbs 66), Barnes (Fassnacht 66), Sainz, Sara, Sargent

Subs: Long, Van Hooijdonk, Batth, Welch, Aboh, Montoia

Goals: Sara 20′

Booked: Duffy

Manager: David Wagner

 

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Reports of their demise, though, seem to have been greatly exaggerated with this a thumping win over high-flying Norwich.

The King Power Stadium was rocking before kick-off as fans tried to steer their team away from a spectacular collapse. 

But any positivity was soon turned into anxiety when Norwich capitalised on statuesque defending to lead an early lead.

It was a goal similar to John Stones’ strike at Anfield last month, when he snuck in at the front post to tap home a Kevin De Bruyne low corner. 

This time it was Marcelino Nunez firing in a low set-piece, with Gabriel Sara ghosting past Leicester’s defenders to fire his side ahead.

That was a goal made in South America, with a Chilean assisting a Brazilian, and the Championship is proving itself as a division littered with international talent. 

But it was three Englishmen who fired Leicester to victory.

Norwich nearly poked home a second minutes after going ahead but American Josh Sargent was offside, prompting Maresca and skipper Ricardo Pereira to demand their troops gain some confidence and calmness.

Composure was soon gained and their dominant passing game belatedly arrived, and Leicester were level 14 minutes after going behind. 

Wout Faes misplaced a cross but showed tenacity to win the ball back before feeding the ball to star midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.

Ndidi is far from the No 6 who arrived on these shores and is now the box-to-box heartbeat of this team. 

It was his cross which picked out Mavididi at the back post, and the Arsenal academy graduate cushioned a header to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall for a tap-in.

Gabriel Sara looked set to compound Leicester's recent struggles when he put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes

Gabriel Sara looked set to compound Leicester's recent struggles when he put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes

Gabriel Sara looked set to compound Leicester’s recent struggles when he put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes

But Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall drew the hosts level before Mavididi gave them the lead on the hour mark

But Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall drew the hosts level before Mavididi gave them the lead on the hour mark

But Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall drew the hosts level before Mavididi gave them the lead on the hour mark

Jamie Vardy came off the bench to double his side's lead in stoppage time and secure a much-needed three points

Jamie Vardy came off the bench to double his side's lead in stoppage time and secure a much-needed three points

Jamie Vardy came off the bench to double his side’s lead in stoppage time and secure a much-needed three points

Mavididi showed his lack of greed to assist that goal but soon demonstrated his individual class, as he skipped past defender Jack Stacey and fired into the far corner to put Leicester ahead on 61 minutes following a nice move again involving Ndidi and Dewsbury-Hall.

Norwich barely threatened after their goal in truth, though Stacey did spring through on 70 minutes only to pull a shot wide, and Leicester’s possession-based game killed the contest. 

Vardy came off the bench and thumped home a third to make sure of the three points.

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