• Says striker is a box striker, goal scorer, fantastic professional
MANCHESTER United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is happy to report that loan signing Odion Ighalo has already displayed his goalscoring abilities throughout his first training sessions as a Red.
The Nigerian striker has joined the club from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua until the end of this season and made his anticipated debut during the final minutes of Monday’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where he replaced Anthony Martial late on.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer showed flashes of his combative qualities against the Blues and almost scored, too, when a low shot was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Cabballero.
Ighalo is part of a squad that has travelled to Belgium for today’s Europa League tie against Club Brugge and, during the pre-match press conference, Solskjaer played his cards close to the chest regarding the centre-forward’s potential involvement at the Jan Breydel Stadium.
“Well I’m not going to tell the team,” said Ole. “But we’re going to have to rotate with all the games we’ve got coming up and he’s one of them that could start. We’ve not 100 per cent decided yet.”
The subject of Ighalo’s arrival at United was then expanded upon by a Nigerian journalist, who explained that millions of supporters in the African nation are well and truly behind the striker.
When asked to explain what qualities Odion will bring to the Reds, Solskjaer praised the different attributes that he possesses and provided an insight into his bedding-in period so far.
”Well for me Odion is a different type of striker for us,” the boss told reporters in Belgium.”He’s a box striker, he’s a goal scorer. We’ve already seen in training that he really knows his craft.
“He knows how to play as a centre-forward and he’s a fantastic professional, and human being, and he’s already added to the squad. The boys have learned his song already, so they’ve taken to him.
”So I hope he’s going to sharpen up quickly, because we know he’s been out of season and he needs to do a little bit extra after training most of the time and we try to give him as much game time as possible.
“Unfortunately he didn’t score against Chelsea, he had a good chance, that would have been a good start, but I’m sure he will take his chances.”
Meanwhile, Ighalo is in pole position for his first start for Manchester United when the Reds visit Belgium today in for the Europa League round-of-32 first leg tie against Club Brugge complete with Nigerian duo of Super Eagles star Emmanuel Dennis and Nigeria U23 international David Okereke.