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Ighalo Set For Super Eagles’ Return

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Man Utd loanee Ighalo open to Super Eagles’ return

Manchester United striker, Odion Ighalo, has revealed he is ‘thinking’ about returning to the Nigeria national team.

Odion Ighalo (25) of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-2 during the FA Cup match between Derby County and Manchester United at the Pride Park, Derby, England on 5th March 2020. (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto)

The forward played a key role as the West Africans qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after missing the previous two editions in 2015 and 2017.

The former Watford striker emerged as the highest goalscorer in the qualifiers before firing the Super Eagles to a third-place finish in the tournament in Egypt, scooping the top scorer award in the process.

Ighalo, however, announced his retirement from international duty after his five-star performance in the competition, along with the team captain and former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel.

In doing so, the forward cited the difficulty of having to travel the distance between China to Nigeria for national duty.

Ighalo moved to England in January, joining the Red Devils on loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and has been the toast of the fans with his blistering performances, scoring four goals and providing one assist in only eight games before the suspension of the division due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The 30-year-old, who recently extended his loan deal with the Old Trafford outfit until January 2021, has not ruled out a return to the Super Eagles.

The forward played a key role as the West Africans qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after missing the previous two editions in 2015 and 2017.

The former Watford striker emerged as the highest goalscorer in the qualifiers before firing the Super Eagles to a third-place finish in the tournament in Egypt, scooping the top scorer award in the process.

Ighalo, however, announced his retirement from international duty after his five-star performance in the competition, along with the team captain and former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel.

In doing so, the forward cited the difficulty of having to travel the distance between China to Nigeria for national duty.

Ighalo moved to England in January, joining the Red Devils on loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and has been the toast of the fans with his blistering performances, scoring four goals and providing one assist in only eight games before the suspension of the division due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The 30-year-old, who recently extended his loan deal with the Old Trafford outfit until January 2021, has not ruled out a return to the Super Eagles.

“I am still in contact with Gernot Rohr and Amaju Pinnick, and they congratulated me on my loan deal,” Ighalo told Brila FM.

“I am still thinking about returning to the national team, but right now I want to concentrate on my club career.

“I left the national team because of the distance between Nigeria and China, but now that I am in Manchester and just like life and in my career, you never can tell.”

Since his retirement, young Lille striker Victor Osimhen has been leading the Super Eagles attack with the forward scoring three goals during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho.

Victory in both games propelled the three-time African champions to the top of Group L with six points and they were scheduled to take on Sierra Leone in another qualifier in March before it was suspended due to Covid-19.

Ighalo made his international debut for the Super Eagles against Uganda in a friendly in 2015 and had 35 caps for the West Africans, scoring three goals before he surprisingly quit the national team.

The forward’s return to the Super Eagles will boost Nigeria’s aim to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021 and qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

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