Leicester City Star Riyad Mahrez: 'Premier League Is Football's NBA'

Joe GallagherFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on March 5, 2016. / AFP / OLLY GREENWOOD / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

While nobody can quite predict who will finish where in this season's Premier League title race, one thing's for sure: Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez will feature in player-of-the-year discussions.

And it seems Mahrez is loving life in England's top flight as he and Leicester chase history.

The Algerian's 11 assists and 15 goalsthe most recent of which was Saturday's winner at Watfordhave seen the Foxes open up a five-point gap at the top of the table with nine games to go.

The 25-year-old has been one of many shining lights for Claudio Ranieri's men, and he was full of praise for the Premier League when he sat down with FIFA.com.

"It is impressive," he said. "To sum it up, I would say that the Premier League is football's NBA. Playing in the Premier League, in front of such crowds and on such perfect pitches, is amazing. I am so lucky."

Leicester City's Welsh midfielder Andy King (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (C) during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at the King Po
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

He joined Leicester from French Ligue 2 team Le Havre in January 2014 and saw the Foxes promoted into the top tier before last season's miraculous recovery to avoid relegation.

And now, with his side scaling new heights, Mahrez says the league is starting to combat them differently.

"The other teams have changed their approach to us and to my way of playing to try to counter it," Mahrez said. "For instance, the left-back often remains longer on the wing instead of going to the heart of the defence. Or sometimes, I have to deal with two players instead of just one.

"I have to be intelligent to adapt this new situation."

Leicester's next challenge in pursuit of an incredible title is against Newcastle United next Monday.