Wayne Richardson, performance coach at Manchester United, has this evening provided an insight into the current fitness and mindset of Odion Ighalo.
The surprise transfer of the January window came to fruition on deadline day two weeks ago.
The signing came for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United, in the form of former Watford striker Odion Ighalo.
Just 24 hours after the Red Devils confirmed the high-profile addition of Bruno Fernandes, Ighalo followed suit, with the Nigerian having put pen-to-paper on a 6-month loan deal in Manchester:
✍ #MUFC can confirm that Odion Ighalo will join us on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.
Welcome, Odion! 🔴
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2020
Ighalo was brought to Old Trafford to add some much-needed depth to United’s front-line, on the back of the long-term injury picked up my Marcus Rashford last month.
‘Pretty decent shape’
The 30-year-old has since joined up with the rest of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, as he begins working his way towards lining out in the colours of Manchester United for the first time.
Ighalo was not permitted to fly out on the Red Devils’ warm-weather training camp in Marbella this week, though, and has, as a result, remained in Manchester to work on a personal training regime.
And, based on the aforementioned comments of United performance coach Wayne Richardson, the club’s latest addition is evidently impressing, despite having not featured in a competitive fixture since late last year.
Speaking in an interview with the Manchester Evening News earlier today, Richardson was questioned on his first impressions of Ighalo, with the fitness expert having gone on to explain:
‘He’s come totally professional, totally prepared. He’s not come off the cuff or anything. He knows what he wants and what he wants to do.’
‘He was doing his pre-season, he had just started that out in China. So it is a case of not wanting to load him up with too much, too soon. ‘
‘You have got to remember he is on the back of a whirlwind with Man Utd. He has come in and it has all been about mobility, flexibility and trying really basic things in his first week.’
‘Now we’re looking to load him up and look at his intensity as well. He was in pretty decent shape when he came across, he was doing stuff anyway before he came over.’
‘Good, honest professional athlete’
Richardson then went on to praise Ighalo’s ‘mindset’, adding:
‘We can always tell from the moment a player comes through the door about where their mindset is. This guy has walked through the door, he is ready to work, he is an athlete. When he goes out there he has got the weight of Manchester United on his shoulders in terms of the shirt. I don’t think that will faze him.’
‘He’s a good, honest professional athlete who knows what he has to do to get to where he needs to be.’
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