Ighalo not ready to play for United – Sanchez Flores
- It might take over a month before Odion Ighalo hits full gear at Manchester United, says Quique Sanchez Flores
- The coach believes the Nigerian frontman isn’t ready for first-team action at his new club
Quique Sanchez Flores, who coached Ighalo at Watford and Shanghai Shenhua warns that the Nigerian isn’t ready for first-team football.
The Nigerian, in the dead hour of the closure of the January transfer window, made a shocking move from China to Manchester United on a six-month loan deal.
While many Nigerians have hailed the move and are optimistic about Ighalo hitting the ground running, the United fan base at large is indifferent about the move.
However, Sanchez Flores, who also had a brief return to his former side Watford earlier this season warned that the former Udinese striker would need time to adjust to the physical demands of the English league.
“Mainly, the problem is how they train in China,” Sanchez Flores told The Athletic. “It is not the same as in England.
“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.”Sanchez Flores still believes Ighalo can shine under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United strive to climb the league.
30-year-old Ighalo in his time in England appeared in 99 games for Watford and scored 39 goals.
The 35 capped Nigerian international formed a formidable partnership alongside Troy Deeney, and Sanchez Flores has fond memories of his time with Ighalo
The Spaniard added: “I have an amazing impression of the player. I fell in love with him. As a guy, he’s professional. He’s a straight arrow. As a person, his life is private. He has strong Christian values and he is respectful.
“As a player, it is difficult to explain Ighalo.
His first quality is he can protect the ball and he gives time to the team to get up the field and win the second ball. It’s so difficult to get the ball from him. He’s stronger than he looks.“Four years ago, when we put ball in the space, he was also super fast. Now, with five years difference, he is a bit different… but he will always be fine in a physical battle.
“We played him up front in a two with Troy Deeney and they knew each other inside out but he is absolutely fine to play as a lone frontman, too. One of his most valuable qualities is that his team-mates very quickly learn his strengths and he adapts very well.”
Olatosimi Fadahunsi278 Posts
Olatosimi is a part-time non-professional footballer and a football writer with spotkick. His ideology/mind/eyes endlessly rove multidimensionally.