Since arriving in England Odion Ighalo has been away from the team and training separately due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Ighalo was subject to a 14-day ban from United’s facilities after arriving in England just as the outbreak in China occurred. Now that his 14 day ban is over, the former Super Eagles star will finally train with the United squad for the first time Sunday morning ahead of their clash against Chelsea on Monday.
The 30-year-old striker arrived in Manchester when his teammates jetted out to Marbella to enjoy their winter break as well as perform light training. The Nigerian international however was left out of the trip due to strict border regulations on people arriving in England from China. Hence, the club’s decision not to risk Ighalo being refused entry upon their return to England.
As a result, the forward has also teamed up with popular performance coach Wayne Richardson to help with his fitness. Ighalo has reportedly taken up a double training session. He is training with Great Britain’s Olympic Taekwondo squad. It is believed he joined the Taekwondo squad to help sharpen his fitness level being he has not played competitively in months with the Chinese Super League in the off-season.
Explaining Ighalo’s absence from Marbella, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while being interviewed by MUTV had this to say:
“Odion will stay in Manchester because since he has come from China in the last 14 days, the news of the virus there means we’re not sure if he’s going to be allowed back into England if he leaves the country again,” he said.
“So he’s staying here working with a personal coach on an individual program and his family then can settle in England as well. That’s a plus. Of course, he might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them, but we don’t want to take that risk [of potential border restrictions tightening].”
”We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp.”
Ighalo will possibly make his debut for his boyhood club when they face top-four rivals, Chelsea. The showdown will happen on Monday, February 17 at Stamford Bridge and all eyes will be on Ighalo to see what he brings to the United squad.
The former Super Eagles star joined United on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua. Ighalo, made news when he announced he took a pay cut to join his boyhood club and to fulfill his dream come true. United are currently at ninth place with 35 points, six points adrift of Frank Lampard’s men.
See pics of Ighalo during his private teaming session below