Former Nigeria international Yisa Sofoluwe believes the extension of Odion Ighalo’s loan deal with Manchester United will enable him to prove his worth at Old Trafford.
On Monday, the Red Devils confirmed the ex-Super Eagles striker has extended his temporary stay with the club until January 2021.
The former Watford striker made a return to the Premier League, joining the Old Trafford outfit on transfer deadline day in January from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, as cover for injured at-the-time Marcus Rashford.
The forward hit the ground running, scoring four goals and providing one assist in eight appearances before the outbreak of the coronavirus, which forced football activities to a hiatus across the world.
Sofoluwe is delighted with the forward’s loan extension with the Red Devils and he is confident the opportunity will give him the time to prove himself at the club.
“As a Nigerian, I am very happy for him that he has extended his loan till January because he has been doing his best for Manchester United,” Sofoluwe told Goal.
“The extension of the loan deal will enable him to prove himself very well and prove his performances were not flash in the pan.
“Ighalo is a good player and he has proven to be a consistent goalscorer. I believe he can do more and in as much, he continues to score goals his coach will not relent to use him.”
Competition for places in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad will increase with Rashford set to return to full fitness when the Premier League restarts on June 17.
Sofoluwe, however, feels Ighalo will continue to play a key role for United when the England international recovers as long as the former Super Eagles striker does not relent in his form.
“If Rashford returns from injury Ighalo will still keep his place. It is only if he is not doing well that there could be a problem. If Rashford returns he will start from the bench,” he continued.
“Even if the coach wants to use Rashford ahead of him, the fans will complain because you can’t bench a player who is doing well. Ighalo is a professional player and he knows he has to continue to perform to keep his place.”
Sofoluwe, who had 40 caps for the three-time African champions, is backing the 30-year-old striker to continue his eye-catching performances at United, notwithstanding his age.
“I believe he can do more than he has done so far without injury, his age is never a barrier because if [Cristiano] Ronaldo can still be doing well at that age, I don’t see why it should be a difference with Ighalo,” he added.
“I will advise him to continue working hard so that he can become one of the top players in the Premier League.”
Ighalo has played for Lyn, Udinese, Watford, Changchun Yatai and Shanghai Shenhua since he moved to Europe in 2007 and had 35 caps for the Super Eagles before his retirement from international duty in 2019.