Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, says he already held talks with new Manchester United signing, Odion Ighalo, as he looks to convince him to make a return to the national team following his recent move to England.
Ighalo announced his retirement from the national team immediately after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt, where he was the highest goal scorer with five goals.
The Franco-German, 66, has now admitted that it is the dream of every coach to have a player playing for a club like Manchester United in their ranks, adding that the experience of the 30-year-old would be useful for the young players in the squad.
“We are very happy about the new team of Ighalo, Manchester United is a fantastic challenge for him and I spoke already with him and you know he is a very good player on and off the pitch.
“If a player is playing in Manchester United each coach of national teams would like to have him. Our young players could learn a lot on the side of this great goal scorer,” Rohr concluded.
Ighalo had a decent scoring record on the international stage, netting 16 goals in 35 appearances for Nigeria.
… striker needs one month to adjust to EPL
Former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has stated that Odion Ighalo needs up to a month before Manchester United start seeing him at his best.
United swooped for the 30-year-old on deadline day, signing him from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Sanchez was in charge at the Hornets in the 2015-2016 campaign, when Ighalo scored 15 goals in 37 Premier League appearances, and speaking to The Athletic he said the former Nigeria international may need time to get used to the physical demands of the Premier League again.
“Mainly, the problem is how they train in China,” Flores told The Athletic.
“It is not the same as in England.
“Is he really ready for first-team matches in the Premier League because the physical difference is so big? He probably needs one month to recover the full rhythm.
“The good thing is he knows his body well, works hard on injury prevention and he is always working after training.”
Flores worked with Ighalo for a second time during a brief spell in charge of Shanghai at the start of 2019 and insisted the player is capable of returning to his best at United.
“I should say, also, that I felt in China, he gave exactly the same effort and quality as he gave me four years ago. We had the feeling in China that he could recover a high level with any team in Europe.
“I have an amazing impression of the player. I fell in love with him. As a guy, he’s professional. He’s a straight arrow.
“As a person, his life is private. He has strong Christian values and he is respectful.”
Ighalo could make his United debut in their huge game against fellow top-four challengers Chelsea on Monday February 17.