What I did to catch up at Manchester United – Odion Ighalo

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Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has revealed that he had to train extra to be able to meet up with the standard following his loan move from Shanghai Shenhua to Manchester United in 2020, reports.

Ighalo played for Watford in the Premier League in the 2015/2016 season, registering 16 goals and three assists in 37 appearances. After that performance, the 34-year-old hitman got bumper offers from the Chinese League, which was where the money was at the time. But he rejected the offer, opting to remain at Watford.

Unfortunately for him, the next season did not go so well, as he produced just one goal and one assist in 18 Premier League games. Eventually, midway through the season, he joined Chinese side Changchung Yatai, where he took the league by storm, registering 15 goals and seven assists in 27 games in his first season.

In his second campaign, Ighalo provided 21 goals in 28 games. Then, he moved to Shanghai Shenhua after two seasons at Yatai. The Nigerian striker had a decent debut season at the club, helping with ten goals in 17 games. But at the end of the 2019 season, Ighalo got an opportunity to join Manchester United on a six-month loan deal, because they needed a back-up striker at the time.

Recall that Ighalo had always been a Manchester United fan, and it was a dream move for him. Even English striker Troy Deeney revealed how Ighalo was always hyped up whenever they had a game against Manchester United.

At the time the deal was concluded, the Chinese League was on break. However, in a recent interview, Ighalo has revealed that he had to put in extra work just to be in good shape.

“There was a difference in level when I joined Manchester United. I played at Watford before for three years before I went to China. I played for three years there, but coming back to Manchester United was a big difference as you had to be sharp because the intensity was high,” Ighalo told Oma Sports TV.

“When I came (to Manchester United), I joined the training camp in Spain. So I started doing my own personal training to catch up even though my league was on in China.

“When they came back, I started training with them. I had to step up my game. I started working hard, I was working with one trainer in Manchester United.

“Sometimes maybe after morning training in the evening I would go there to do some work to be able to catch up. The level there was different.

“The training was not more than one and half hour, but it was sharp and tough. When I saw the tackles, I saw the running, I saw the sprinting, then I told myself that I was back to work, not what I was doing in China for three years.”

Ighalo spent six months at Manchester United, and he registered two goals and one assist in 20 appearances at the club.