Skip to main content

Odion Ighalo's performance coach lifts lid on the striker's regime to get match-fit for Manchester United

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo is using the Premier League's winter break to get as fit as possible, says performance coach Wayne Richardson.

Manchester United completed the surprise loan signing of the Nigeria international from Shanghai Shenhua on the final day of the January transfer window.

The most recent Chinese Super League season ended in December, meaning Ighalo has not played a competitive club game for more than two months.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed the striker as cover for the injured Marcus Rashford, and Ighalo - a boyhood United fan - is working hard to get up to speed.

"He's come totally professional, totally prepared," Richardson told the Manchester Evening News. "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 United. 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.

"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."

United return to Premier League action with a key match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Solskjaer's side trail their upcoming opponents, who currently occupy the final Champions League qualification spot, by six points.

READ MORE

Somehow, things have got worse at West Ham - and they didn't even play this weekend

Jadon Sancho will leave Borussia Dortmund this summer – but he shouldn't come back to England

Andy Mitten column: Why Manchester United’s trip to Marbella won’t match up to the warm weather breaks of the 1980s