Ighalo may not play for Man United until next month, says former coach

Quique Sanchez Flores (left) has issued a warning over Odion Ighalo’s current state of fitness.PHOTO: GETYIMAGES

Odion Ighalo’s former boss, Quique Sanchez Flores has warned it may take up to a month for Manchester United’s new signing to reach his peak after completing a shock return to the Premier League, reports dailymail.co.uk.

Sanchez Flores was Ighalo’s manager at Watford when the Nigerian struck 17 goals in a season, before also coaching him for a short time at Shanghai Shenua in China.

The Old Trafford side will be hoping the 30-year-old can rediscover that form this season, but Sanchez Flores warned that standards between China and England differ greatly. 

Sanchez Flores told The Athletic: “Mainly, the problem is how they train in China. 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.

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.”