What are all strikers judged on? Odion knows...
Manchester United marksman Odion Ighalo knows how success is measured for all strikers - goals, goals, goals.
The Nigerian has hit the net in each of his four starts for the club, matching Jimmy Hanson's record in 1925, and is hungry for more opportunities to show how he has evolved into a classic centre-forward.
Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Bournemouth, he discussed the game with United Review, the official matchday programme, as he hopes for a reunion with former Watford colleague Nathan Ake, who is the main man at the back for the Cherries.
Ighalo has five goals to his name in all competitions and it is surely only a matter of time before he hits the net in the Premier League for the Reds.
With his form and the fixture schedule also suggesting his first inclusion in a league line-up may not be far away, the 31-year-old appreciates he is able to complement our other forwards with his attributes, and offer another option when it comes to leading the line.
“With strikers, we are being judged
on goals,” he told United Review.
“Sometimes, when you don’t score goals,
you’re sad. As long as the team wins, that’s the
most important thing but, as a striker, I would like
to score in every game.
“That is what you are being
judged on – goals, goals, goals.
“It’s the measure
of a striker – how many goals you have scored.
It is what people want to know about. That’s why
we’re always eager to score goals and why, every
time I’m on the pitch, I give my best to try to make
sure I can create chances and score goals. But if
I don’t score then, as long as we win the game,
and my team-mates score, it’s okay for me.”
Ighalo's Norwich showreelVideo
Ighalo has matured into an excellent centre-forward, whose hold-up play and harrassing of defenders was evident in the recent Emirates FA Cup win at Norwich City, when he was perhaps unfortunate not to win the Man-of-the-Match award. It was another chance for the loan signing from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to display his qualities in that role, as part of a much-changed side.
“Anthony Martial is very skilful,” he explained.
“He’s a direct striker. He
likes to play with the ball at his feet. Rashy l[Marcus Rashford] likes
to run in behind. I think I bring different things
to the strikers we have. I can play with my
back to goal, I can keep the ball. I’m strong so
it’s different, you know, and for the different
games, we play different patterns and
with different strategies.
“So it’s good to
have different types of striker in order
to accomplish what you want.
“I think I’ve gained more experience now and I
push my game a little bit more than when I was at
Watford. I think I’m even stronger now than I was
then and have a bit more fighting ability to give,
plus I have the experience to do what it takes
on the field to score goals and to help the
team. I feel I have improved from then to now.”
During that time with the Hornets, Odion worked closely with centre-back Ake, who was on loan from Chelsea at the time.
The Netherlands international will be hoping to help keep the Reds at bay on Saturday and arrest a slump in form for Eddie Howe's men as they currently sit in the relegation zone.
“Bournemouth have a good squad,” Ighalo added.
they’re not doing so well this season but they have
good players. Callum Wilson is suspended but he’s
a good striker too, he’s a striker who can disturb
any defence from start to finish and he’s a good
goalscorer. I know Nathan Ake, as I played with him
during my days at Watford.
“He’s a good guy who
was young but hard working. It’s going to be good as I’ve not seen him since I left the UK to go to play in China. This is a good opportunity to see him, he’s a good lad and I’m looking forward to that.
“Their squad is not bad but we’ve got to break teams like this down and we have to work hard, push hard and show our resilience, all of that.
it’s going to be a tough game but I think we’re
ready and we have what it takes to win.
Read the full interview with Odion Ighalo in Saturday's United Review, which is available to order online.
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