Odion Ighalo explains why he preferred Ruud van Nistelrooy to Robin van Persie

Odion Ighalo has become the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United following his debut against Chelsea.

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo says he preferred former Red Devils forward Ruud van Nistelrooy to Robin van Persie because he played in a similar way to the Nigerian.

Van Nistelrooy was signed from PSV Eindhoven in 2001 and spent five seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 150 goals and winning one Premier League title and an FA Cup.

Van Persie, on the other hand, was bought from Arsenal in 2012 and helped Sir Alex Ferguson win the title in his final season at the club with a contribution of 26 Premier League goals.

Speaking on a Periscope live Ighalo – who has scored four times since joining United on loan – said that although he had huge respect for the two goalscorers, Van Nistelrooy was his favourite.

“I would gladly pick Van Nistelrooy,” Ighalo said. “Van Nistelrooy is a goalscorer. He does not show skills, he does not try to dribble and all that.

“He’s a position striker, like me. A striker who can run between defenders and have space. That’s the kind of striker I learn from.

“Don’t get me wrong, Van Persie is a good player. He scored with both feet, he does everything. But Van Nistelrooy is a striker who – when he’s fit – can guarantee you goals in every game.

“He runs between defenders, he can score goals, he takes his chances. So I would choose Van Nistelrooy as a proper No.9 centre-forward.”

Ighalo was also asked whether he would consider changing his current number 25 shirt for a more traditional striking number, but he replied: “No I don’t think so. The No.25 has been giving me luck so far so why would I want to change it?

“I picked it because when I joined the team that was the jersey that was available, I think that it was No.25 and No.19 – so I picked 25 because when I was in the Premier League before I wore 24 at Watford … so 24 plus one is 25 so I just picked 25.

“Legends like Antonio Valencia wore that shirt so it’s a privilege. Nigerian Kanu wore the No.25 when he was at Arsenal, so it’s a great number. I just picked it and said, ‘Okay, yeah, lucky number for me.’”

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