30-year-old “Manchester United star”, Ighalo open to Nigeria return

Ighalo open to Nigeria return
30-year-old “Manchester United star”, Ighalo open to Nigeria return

Ighalo open to Nigeria return: The 30-year-old says he is in regular contact with the Super Eagles coach and hinted he could reverse his decision to end his international career.

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has disclosed that he is “thinking” about returning to the national team in Nigeria.

The forward played a key role as the West Africans qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2017, after missing the previous two editions.

Before firing the Super Eagles to a third-place finish in the tournament in Egypt, the former Watford striker emerged as the highest goalscorer in the qualifiers, scooping the top scorer award in the process.

However, Ighalo, along with team captain and former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel, announced his withdrawal from international duty following his five-star performance in the competition.

In doing so, the forward cited the difficulty of having to travel the distance between China to Nigeria for national duty.

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Ighalo moved to England in January, joining the Red Devils on loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and has been the toast of the fans with his blistering performances, scoring four goals and providing one assist in only eight games before the suspension of the division due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The 30-year-old, who recently extended his loan deal with the Old Trafford outfit until January 2021, has not ruled out a return to the Super Eagles.

“I am still in contact with Gernot Rohr and Amaju Pinnick, and they congratulated me on my loan deal,” Ighalo told Brila FM.

“I am still thinking about returning to the national team, but right now I want to concentrate on my club career.

“I left the national team because of the distance between Nigeria and China, but now that I am in Manchester and just like life and in my career, you never can tell.”

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Young Lille striker Victor Osimhen has led the Super Eagles attack since his retirement with the forward scoring three goals during the qualifying games against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Victory in both games pushed the three-time African champions with six points to the top of Group L and they were scheduled to take on Sierra Leone in another qualifier in March before being suspended due to Covid-19.

In a friendly 2015, Ighalo made his international debut for the Super Eagles against Uganda and had 35 caps for the West Africans, scoring 16 goals before he surprisingly left the national team.

The forward’s return to the Super Eagles will boost Nigeria’s aim to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021 and qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

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