Manchester United have been given a boost ahead of their clash with Chelsea tonight as loan signing Odion Ighalo reported trained with his teammates for the first time yesterday.
The Nigerian striker has completed an enforced 14-day spell away from his new team due to coronavirus fears having joined from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua. And on Sunday, Ighalo was pictured being driven into United’s Carrington training base ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. United took the precaution despite the fact that Ighalo did not arrive in the UK from Wuhan, where the virus originated.
It forced the 30-year-old to miss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winter break training camp in Marbella, Spain last week, over fears he would not be allowed back into the country due to tightening of national security following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Ighalo had been training with Manchester-based performance Coach Wayne Richardson at the GB Taekwondo Centre in the city. He is set to travel with the squad for Monday night’s clash with Frank Lampard’s side, where, fitness permitting, he is expected to be among the substitutes. United’s boss was optimistic on Friday that the new man could make an instant impact
“Well, it didn’t take me too long,’ said Solskjaer. “I didn’t need to have a training session to come on. “As a striker, you get thrown on out there and it might be that he’ll have to come off the bench to give us a goal. “He’ll be involved with us and travel down with us. Now he’s out of that two-week (incubation) precaution period we made, let’s see if he’s involved or not.
“We’ve kept in touch with him. We’ve done our own programme, he’s done his, and it was always going to be a case of him having to integrate with us, having been out in China. “He needs to get used to the players, the team, up to speed as quick as he can, he’s been working really hard. “I think he’s been pinching himself at times, being at his favourite club at the age of 30, but he’s earned that one and hopefully he impresses us so we can see him play.
“He was the top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations last year, so he can help the club, he’s very professional, a good lad and will give something to the group,” concludes Solskjaer