SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr is contemplating bringing Odion Ighalo back out of international retirement following his recent high profile move to English Premier League side Manchester United.
Last Friday, Ighalo, 30, joined Manchester United on loan until the end of the season on transfer deadline day from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in China. He has since been handed jersey number 25 and is expected to feature for the club in its next league game when the current winter break ends.
A Manchester United spokesman said: “Ighalo has been handed the number 25 squad number at Man United. That shirt has been vacant since Antonio Valencia left Old Trafford last summer, bringing an end to his 10-season career as a Manchester United player.
Ighalo, who retired from international football after the last Africa Cup of Nations when he emerged as the top scorer is expected to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad for the rest of the season. Following the move, Mr Rohr has hinted that he would like to have new Ighalo back in the national team.
Mr Rohr said the young players in the Super Eagles could learn a lot from Ighalo, who he described as a great goal scorer. He will be the first Super Eagle to play for Manchester United, as Remi Moses was an England international.
“We are pleased about Ighalo’s new team. Joining Manchester United is a fantastic challenge for him as a player.
“I spoke already with him and you know he is an excellent player on and off the pitch. If a player is playing for Manchester United, every coach of a national team would like to have such a player as our young players in the team could learn a lot on the side of this great goal scorer.”
Earlier today, Ighalo stepped out of his temporary residence in Manchester dressed in a grey Nike hoodie and was greeted by the team’s fans. Under the arrangement reached between Manchester United and Shanghai Shenhua, his new club will be paying a third of his £300,000-a-week wages.
Ighalo said: “Obviously I am happy to be in Manchester and this is a great opportunity for me. I’m grateful to God, my agent and the coach that gave me this opportunity to be here.
“I’m happy to be here to work hard with the team and finish very well this season. It’s a dream come true because since I was a kid I have always dreamed about Manchester United but this is a reality now.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope Ighalo is the man to get his side firing again in front of the goal, particularly with Marcus Rashford out injured with a double stress fracture to his back. Manchester United will be visiting Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on February 17 in what is likely to be Ighalo’s first game.