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Eagles’ door opens to Ighalo, says Rohr

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By Morakinyo Abodunrin

 

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is excited about  Friday’s deadline-day  transfer of Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua  to Manchester United, adding the national team’ door is open to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goal scorer.

Ighalo  retired from International football days after he helped Nigeria win the Bronze medal  following his solitary strike against Tunisia in the Third Place Match but 66-year-old German  super Eagles’ said the striker would be most welcomed if he call off his self-imposed exit.

“I am very  happy about the transfer of Odion Ighalo to this  great club like Manchester United,” the former  Bayern Munich defender exclusively told NationSport last night. “ It is a dream for him and he can realise his dream with this team; but he has to fight to play with this team (Manchester United).”

Ighalo’s departure from the Super Eagles has seen  the emergence of the likes of  Lille forward Victor Osimhen in the team’s striking position but Rohr said the younger elements in the Super Eagles will benefit even more should  the former Watford striker returns to the fold.

“If he (Ighalo) wants to come back to the team (Super Eagles) , the door is open because his experience could really help the likes of Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Kalu and other young strikers to progress.

“ Now the travelling (from China) will be less for him  but he  has to first  find his rhythm and positioning to play for Manchester  United and  the changing  of mind (to play for the Super Eagles)  must come from .

“ All the time , we are in touch. He is such an important player as  the best goal scorer at AFCON 2019.

“ He is  difficult to replace even  if Osimhen is doing so well.

“ All is possible even for Ighalo and Osimhen to play  together ; but we would wait  and we would see,” added  the vastly experienced Rohr who had previously managed the national teams of  Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso en route to Nigeria.

Meanwhile,  Quique Sanchez Flores who coached Ighalo both at Watford and Shanghai Shenhua, has warned that that the striker would need at least one month to be sharp for Man United.

“Mainly, the problem is how they train in China. It is not the same as in England,” the Spaniard said in an interview with Daily Mirror. “Is he really ready for first-team matches in the Premier League because the physical difference is so big?

“He probably needs one month to recover the full rhythm. The good thing is he knows his body well, works hard on injury prevention and he is always working after training.”

“I should say, also, that I felt in China, he gave exactly the same effort and quality as he gave me four years ago. We had the feeling in China that he could recover a high level with any team in Europe.”

Ighalo is expected to make his Manchester United debut  in a high profile EPL match immediately  after the Winter’s break  against Chelsea on February 17.

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