South African starlet Leshabela makes Premier League debut for Leicester City

Leceister City

South Africa under-23 international Khanya Leshabela has made his Premier League debut for Leicester City.

The 21-year-old midfielder featured for the Foxes as they claimed an emphatic 5-0 victory over relegation-threatened Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon.

Leshabela replaced Ayoze Perez a minute after Sheffield defender Ethan Ampadu had netted an own-goal to make it 5-0 to Leicester in the 80th minute at King Power Stadium. 

It was a reward for the Pretoria-born player, who had been an unused substitute on three occasions in the Premier League under manager Brendan Rodgers this season.

Leshabela has become the second South African player to play in the Premier League this season, following in the footsteps of Percy Tau.

Bafana Bafana international Tau has made two appearances in the league for Brighton Hove and Albion where he has found game time had to come by thus far under manager Graham Potter. 

Leshabela, who left South Africa for England at the age of two, has already represented his country of birth at age-group level.

The left-footed player was part of the South Africa squad at the 2019 Fifa Under-20 World Cup finals in Poland.

Leshabela's only appearance in the global competition came against Portugal in a Group F match which ended in a 1-1 draw with the Leicester academy product, having been introduced in the 76th minute.

Prior to that, Leshabela had played for Amajita at the 2019 Caf U20 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Niger, where he played two matches as South Africa finished third in the tournament. 

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It remains to be seen whether South Africa under-23 head coach David Notoane will include Leshabela in his final squad for the 2021 Olympic Games.

Leshabela is part of Notoane's 78-man provisional squad for the global tournament which will be hosted by Japan between July 23 and August 8.