Ighalo scoffs at shirt suggestion

Odion Ighalo has revealed he did not have a name on the back of his Manchester United shirt as a youngster because he was unable to afford it.

The Nigerian striker, who has four goals in eight appearances since joining the club in January, has settled perfectly into life at Old Trafford.

Growing up in his homeland, he supported the Reds and particularly looked up to Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. Pictures have emerged of him wearing the blue away shirt, previously adorned by his current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the rest of the team in the 2005/06 season.

Video
Odion Ighalo looks at a mobile phone.
Watch Odion speak about following United from Nigeria.

However, the new crowd favourite laughed at the suggestion he would have had letters printed on the back of the top.

“I had a United jersey but no player name on the back,” he told Inside United, the official club magazine. “It was one of the old blue ones but definitely no name on the back. You have to pay to put names on the back and there was no money to pay for that! I just got the United top.

“It was a blue one but a long time ago. I can’t remember as I was very, very young.”

Watching the Reds play on TV in Nigeria was memorable for the striker and he is delighted that his fellow countrymen have been supporting him back home.

“It’s good – you have to go to an event centre and pay to watch the games,” he explained. “Any time United were playing, I’d go with my siblings. You’d have to pay to watch the games and now people are watching me and United. It is a big fan-base and it is growing even much bigger.

“Everybody is sending me messages saying they can’t wait to see me and watch the United games. I am very happy about that.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy wearing the shirt that Ighalo had in his youth.

Ighalo also revealed a surreal moment after playing for Watford at Old Trafford in March, 2016, his second visit to the Theatre of Dreams.

“When did I first set my eyes on it?” he said. “It was in 2013 when I came to see the stadium, to visit it and go around, taking pictures outside the stadium. The first time I played there was for Watford in 2016.

”Manchester United is a big club. When I saw that, I was amazed. I was outside the stadium and I took pictures. Then I played there with Watford, against United, and it made me even more happy. I came out of the stadium and stood looking at it.

Odion Ighalo holds off Tim Fosu-Mensah.
Odion Ighalo holds off current team-mate Tim Fosu-Mensah.

“This is the stadium you have been watching back home when you were young and now you’re playing here for Watford against Man United. It feels good.

“And even now, playing for United? It’s making even greater moments for me.

The latest edition of Inside United is out now.

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